By Ryan MacArthur |

At its most basic, a hematoma is a collection of blood that sits outside a blood vessel. During IV treatment, this can occur when blood leaks from the vessel into the surrounding soft tissue.

Hematomas are typically the result of the catheter passing through both walls of the blood vessel, an occurrence of trauma to the vein during the insertion of the IV or if not enough pressure is applied to the IV site after the catheter is removed.

Other causes, as a result of IV treatment, include using a catheter that’s too large, using a highly sensitive or fragile vein as an IV site, or if the patient moves too much after a healthcare provider administers the IV.

Normally, the body is able to self-repair a minor opening in a vessel by clotting. However, if the injury is too great or the repair fails, blood may continue to expand from the injured vessel causing a hematoma.


Typical signs include pain, swelling, redness, and large bruises near the IV site.


Hematomas are not usually difficult to spot. Heavy bruising near and around the IV site is a telltale sign.


Treatment for most superficial hematomas of the skins and soft tissue, like muscle, often include the RICE method:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Applying pressure to the area can also slow down the formation of a hematoma. Learn more about other potential IV complications here


Intravenous Therapy Conditions –

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