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Neurocrit Care. 2018 Aug;29(1):23-32. doi: 10.1007/s12028-017-0492-6.

The Incidence of Catheter Tract Hemorrhage and Catheter Placement Accuracy in the CLEAR III Trial.

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Division of Brain Injury Outcomes, Departments of Neurology, Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Critical Care, Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, FL, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.
Division of Neurosciences Critical Care, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 N. Wolfe St./Phipps 455, Baltimore, MD, 21287, USA.



Incidence of catheter tract hemorrhage (CTH) after initial ventriculostomy placement ranges from 10 to 34%. We investigated CTH incidence in the Clot Lysis: Evaluation of Accelerated Resolution of Intraventricular Hemorrhage Phase III trial.


Prospective observational analysis of 1000 computer tomography (CT) scans from all 500 patients enrolled in the trial. All catheters were evaluated on first CT post-placement and on last CT prior to randomization for placement location and CTH size, location, and severity. Clinical variables were assessed for association with CTH with multivariable logistic regression.


Of 563 catheters, CTH was detected in 14 and 21% of patients on first and last CT (median 3.7 and 43.4 h after catheter placement, respectively). All, but one were asymptomatic. Majority of CTH (86%) occurred within 24 h after placement, were located within 1 cm of the skull, and had at least one diameter > 5 mm. Most catheters (71%) terminated in the third or lateral ventricle ipsilateral to insertion site. Factors significantly associated with CTH were pre-admission use of antiplatelet drugs, accuracy of catheter placement, non-operating room catheter placement, Asian race, and intraventricular hemorrhage expansion.


CTH incidence on initial catheter placement and during stabilization was relatively low, despite emergent placement in a high-risk population. Catheter placement accuracy was similar or better than convenience samples from the published literature. Decreasing risk of CTH may be achieved with attention to catheter placement accuracy and placement in the operating room. Antiplatelet agent use was an independent risk factor for CTH.


Catheter tract hemorrhage; Computed tomography; External ventricular drain; Intracerebral hemorrhage; Intraventricular fibrinolysis; Intraventricular hemorrhage

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