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Neurosurgery. 2012 Jul;71(1):6-13. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3182544e31.

Comparison of infection rate with the use of antibiotic-impregnated vs standard extraventricular drainage devices: a prospective, randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, United Kingdom.



External ventricular drainage (EVD) catheters provide reliable and accurate means of monitoring intracranial pressure and alleviating elevated pressures via drainage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF infections occur in approximately 9% of patients. Antibiotic-impregnated (AI) EVD catheters were developed with the goal of reducing the occurrence of EVD catheter-related CSF infections and their associated complications.


To present an international, prospective, randomized, open-label trial to evaluate infection incidence of AI vs standard EVD catheters.


Infection was defined as (1) proven infection, positive CSF culture and positive Gram stain or (2) suspected infection: (A) positive CSF culture with no organisms identified on initial Gram stain; (B) negative CSF culture with a gram-positive or -negative stain; (C) CSF leukocytosis with a white blood cell/red blood cell count >0.02.


Four hundred thirty-four patients underwent implantation of an EVD catheter. One hundred seventy-six patients in the AI-EVD cohort and 181 in the standard EVD catheter cohort were eligible for evaluation of infection. The 2 groups were similar in all clinical characteristics. Proven infection was documented in 9 (2.5%) patients (AI: 4 [2.3%] vs standard: 5 [2.8%], P = 1.0). Suspected infection was documented in 31 (17.6%) patients receiving AI and 37 (20.4%) patients receiving standard EVD catheters, P = .504. Duration of time to suspected infection was prolonged in the AI cohort (8.8 ± 6.1 days) compared with the standard EVD cohort (4.6 ± 4.2 days), P = .002.


AI-EVD catheters were associated with an extremely low rate of catheter-related infections. AI catheters were not associated with risk reduction in EVD infection compared to standard catheters. Use of AI-EVD catheters is a safe option for a wide variety of patients requiring CSF drainage and monitoring, but the efficacy of AI-EVD catheters was not supported in this trial.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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