Introduction of vincristine mini-bags and an assessment of the subsequent risk of extravasation

Document Type





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.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice