Prospective, multicentre study of external ventricular drainage-related infections in the UK and Ireland

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ObjectivesExternal ventricular drain (EVD) insertion is a common neurosurgical procedure. EVD-related infection (ERI) is a major complication that can lead to morbidity and mortality. In this study, we aimed to establish a national ERI rate in the UK and Ireland and determine key factors influencing the infection risk.MethodsA prospective multicentre cohort study of EVD insertions in 21 neurosurgical units was performed over 6 months. The primary outcome measure was 30-day ERI. A Cox regression model was used for multivariate analysis to calculate HR.ResultsA total of 495 EVD catheters were inserted into 452 patients with EVDs remaining in situ for 4700 days (median 8 days; IQR 4–13). Of the catheters inserted, 188 (38%) were antibiotic-impregnated, 161 (32.5%) were plain and 146 (29.5%) were silver-bearing. A total of 46 ERIs occurred giving an infection risk of 9.3%. Cox regression analysis demonstrated that factors independently associated with increased infection risk included duration of EVD placement for ≥8 days (HR=2.47 (1.12–5.45); p=0.03), regular sampling (daily sampling (HR=4.73 (1.28–17.42), p=0.02) and alternate day sampling (HR=5.28 (2.25–12.38); p<0.01). There was no association between catheter type or tunnelling distance and ERI.ConclusionsIn the UK and Ireland, the ERI rate was 9.3% during the study period. The study demonstrated that EVDs left in situ for ≥8 days and those sampled more frequently were associated with a higher risk of infection. Importantly, the study showed no significant difference in ERI risk between different catheter types.This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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