Neonatal extravasation injury: prevention and management in Australia and New Zealand-a survey of current practice

BMC Pediatr. 2013 Mar 11:13:34. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-13-34.


Background: Extravasation injury remains an important cause of iatrogenic injury in neonatal intensive care. This study aims to describe the current approach to extravasation injury (EI) prevention and management in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in Australia and New Zealand.

Methods: A literature review regarding extravasation injury in the newborn was carried out to inform questionnaire design. An internet-based survey was then conducted with the clinical directors of the 27 tertiary NICUs in Australia and New Zealand.

Results: The survey received a 96% response rate. Approximately two thirds of Australian and New Zealand NICUs have written protocols for prevention and management of extravasation injury. Considerable practice variation was seen for both prevention and treatment of EI. 92% of units had experienced cases of significant EI.

Conclusions: Australian and New Zealand tertiary neonatal units clearly recognise EI as an important cause of iatrogenic morbidity and mortality. Significant variation still exists among units with regards to guidelines for both prevention and management of EI. We recommend that neonatal staff should remain vigilant, ensuring that guidelines for the prevention and treatment of EI are available, and rigorously followed.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects*
  • Extravasation of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Materials / etiology
  • Extravasation of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Materials / prevention & control
  • Extravasation of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Materials / therapy*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / methods*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data
  • New Zealand
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tertiary Care Centers