Introduction Numerous international organisations have advocated the preparation of vincristine in small volume intravenous bags in order to eliminate inadvertent intrathecal administration. However, the risk of extravasation is a significant deterrent, and adoption of this practice has been variable and only hesitantly accepted in the clinical setting. Purpose We carried out a study with the aims of establishing the incidence of reported extravasation of vincristine administration to paediatric and adult patients in mini-bags; here we describe motivating factors and barriers faced by clinical staff. The secondary aim was to support the need for change and implementation of the international recommendations. Methods Chemotherapy-certified nurses completed a survey spanning August 2009 to August 2011, to ascertain the incidence of extravasation associated with the administration of vincristine in mini-bags. Results This period captured 421 occasions of vincristine administration in 25-ml or 50-ml mini-bags (in 0.9% sodium chloride). The median age of patients was 13 years (range 2.5 months to 99 years). Vincristine was administered through peripheral lines (26.4%), portacath (52.0%), PICC line (15.9%) and Hickman line (5.7%). The majority of infusions were over at least 10 minutes (50.1%). There were no cases of extravasation reported. Conclusions The administration of vincristine in small volume intravenous bags was safe, practical, and feasible in all patient groups. The successful implementation of the international recommendations for vincristine administration in mini-bags to eliminate potential inadvertent intrathecal administration was dependent on stakeholder buy-in.
- Vincristine mini-bags
- intrathecal administration