How often does extravasation of intravenous contrast material occur?
Extravasation of intravenous contrast material (i.e., when administered contrast material escapes the vascular lumen and infiltrates the interstitial tissue at the site of injection) may occur in up to 0.9% of patients following intravenous administration of iodinated contrast material. Extravasation is less commonly encountered following intravenous gadolinium-based contrast administration, because the injected contrast volumes are much lower (typically <20 ml) compared to those studies utilizing iodinated contrast material (typically 100 ml). Most extravasations are limited to the superficial (skin and subcutaneous) soft tissues, and may either be asymptomatic or associated with soft tissue swelling, tightness, pain, or tenderness. However, most contrast extravasations resolve without incident following conservative management with elevation of the extremity and application of warm or cold compresses.