Venous intravasation

Last revised by Mostafa Elfeky on 3 Jul 2023

Venous intravasation is the unintended introduction of radiographic contrast material into the local venous system. It is a well-recognized phenomenon during retrograde urethrograms 1,2 and hysterosalpingograms (HSG), although can occur with other invasive procedures in the vicinity of venous plexi, e.g. myelography 3, vertebroplasty 4, barium enema 5.


The most significant sequela of venous intravasation is the risk of venous embolism to lungs pulmonary embolism, or potentially to the cerebral circulation. This complication is rare and dependent on the composition of the injectate. For example, embolism is a reported complication of HSG performed with oil-soluble contrast agent (e.g. lipiodol) 6, but not water-soluble contrast 7.

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