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Quality & Safety

5-Fluorouracil Infiltrations and Ambulatory Pumps: Education, Prevention, and Management Considerations

Chelsea Bostelman
CJON 2019, 23(5), 537-539 DOI: 10.1188/19.CJON.537-539

Although uncommon, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) infiltrations do occur. Two case studies involving 5-FU infiltration from totally implanted venous access devices identified at the conclusion of a 46-hour continuous infusion via an ambulatory infusion pump are presented. These cases highlight the importance of patient and caregiver education, considerations for preventing infiltrations, and challenges associated with managing these cases.


  • 5-FU has irritant properties and it is recommended that the agent be consistently classified as such.
  • Patients receiving continuous 5-FU infusions require education on identifying infiltration, managing ambulatory infusion pumps, and promptly contacting the clinic when signs or symptoms of complications occur.
  • Challenges associated with management include a lack of consensus classification, differentiating infiltration from other complications, and patient ability for self-management.

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