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What is an Extravasation Injury?

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

“What is an extravasation injury?” is a common question from victims of IV-related medical malpractice incidents. Get the answers here from our award-winning medical malpractice lawyers.

The placement of an IV (intravenous) catheter into a patient’s body is among the most common medical procedures performed in hospitals and clinics. While patients expect this to be a safe and simple process, it can sometimes go gravely wrong, leading to serious injuries such as extravasation.


If you or a loved one has been injured under potential IV-related medical malpractice, please contact the Atlanta malpractice lawyers at Davis Adams as soon as possible for a free consultation.

How Does Extravasation Occur?


In a standard IV placement procedure, a catheter is placed directly into a vein so a liquid, usually blood or medication, can be infused into the patient’s system. To place the catheter, a needle is inserted into the vein, followed by a plastic catheter. Next, the needle is removed and the catheter is taped in place.

When placing an IV catheter, the liquid that is supposed to go directly into the vein can sometimes leak into the surrounding tissue. Extravasation occurs when this liquid, most commonly a vesicant or chemotherapeutic drug, causes damage.

While a number of circumstances can lead to extravasation, some common causes include a clogged or dislodged catheter, improper set-up of the infusion device, and wrongful administration of the IV fluid. These causes can sometimes occur naturally or accidentally, but they are most often due to a negligent medical error.

Regardless of the cause, however, quick and competent medical intervention at the onset of extravasation is necessary to limit the extent of the damage. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, which is why IV extravasation is among the most common cases we handle.

How Does Extravasation Occur

Common Types of IV Extravasation Injuries


Damage from extravasation can occur in the skin, muscle, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, and/or bone. Mild cases may merely cause inflammation and irritation. However, anything from burns, blisters, scarring, skin ulcers, and compartment syndrome can occur as a result of extravasation, and more severe cases may require amputation. Death is also a possible outcome in the most serious cases.

The longer it takes to identify the error, the more severe an IV extravasation injury may be. When extravasation occurs, it must be immediately identified and addressed by the patient’s medical providers to limit the spread of damage. However, this can only happen if the patient is properly monitored.

As soon as a medical professional recognizes the signs of extravasation, the IV must be removed and the site must be thoroughly assessed and evaluated. If damage is suspected, appropriate action must be taken as quickly as possible to treat it. Even if the IV is removed soon after the onset of extravasation, improper or inadequate treatment of the injury can exacerbate the damage.

Common Types of Extravasation Injuries

Contact a Lawyer About Your Extravasation Injury


When undergoing a medical procedure, patients expect a particular level of care to be exercised. If you have suffered an extravasation injury as a result of substandard or negligent medical care, you must seek assistance from a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for medical care, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you’ve endured from your injury.

At Davis Adams, we offer unmatched experience representing medical malpractice victims, and our top-rated lawyers are ready to help you pursue the compensation you deserve by filing a malpractice claim against those responsible for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, where we will evaluate your claim and set you on the road to recovery.

Contact a Lawyer About Your Extravasation Injury