Advice Sheet Following Extravasation of Radiographic Contrast Material

  • Reference Number: HEY-361/2015
  • Departments: Radiotherapy

This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

Radiotherapy Department

As part of your Radiotherapy planning CT scan we were required to use an injection of contrast media (dye) into one of your veins. Sometimes during this procedure an extravasation (leak) may occur. This occurs when the contrast material (dye) used to optimise your treatment planning scan leaks out of the vein into the surrounding tissue. When this happened you may have felt some pain or tightening around the injection site.

This sheet aims to explain what you may see / feel and what you should do. It is not meant to replace discussion between you and your doctor. If after reading it you require further explanation please discuss this with the relevant person who has been caring for you.

You will have been observed for two hours after the extravasation occurs and a pressure bandage may have been applied. Before you leave the department a doctor will explain what has happened and what further signs to look out for.

For the next three days please note the following instructions:

  • Keep the arm elevated when possible
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic drinks
  • Take paracetamol (unless you are allergic to it) for any localised pain
  • Apply a cold compress up to three times a day to the site

If you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Blistering over the injection site / Any significant change in skin colour
  • Increase/ decrease of skin temperature at the site (compared with the temperature of your skin elsewhere)
  • Numbness in your fingers
  • Hardness at the injection site which is still present after three days

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this sheet or ongoing symptoms please contact: The Radiotherapy Nurses (01482) 461134 or Radiotherapy Patient Information (01482) 461206 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm). Out of hours and/or weekends/ bank holidays please contact your local Emergency Department.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the Data Protection Act (1998) we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.