Efficacy of Silver Nanoparticles-Impregnated External Ventricular Drain Catheters in Patients with Acute Occlusive Hydrocephalus

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Catheter-associated infection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a potentially life-threatening complication of external ventricular drainage (EVD). The purpose of this pilot study was to address the efficacy of silver-impregnated EVD catheters in neurological and neurosurgical patients requiring external CSF drainage due to acute occlusive hydrocephalus.


Nineteen consecutive patients were enrolled in the treatment arm of the study and data were prospectively recorded for these patients. The control group consisted of 20 patients for whom data were retrospectively assessed. CSF samples were drawn at least three times a week and routine bacterial cultures and CSF analyses were done according to standard protocols. The primary endpoint of the study was the occurrence of catheter-associated ventriculitis (CAV) proven by positive CSF culture. Secondary endpoints were bacterial colonization of the catheter tip and CSF pleocytosis.


In 20 control patients, 5 CAVs were microbiologically diagnosed. In contrast, no positive CSF cultures were found in the treatment group. This difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05). All CAVs occurred later than day 10 after catheter placement. Colonization of the catheter tip was found in 6 patients in the control group and in 5 patients in the treatment group (not significant).


This pilot study indicates that EVD catheters impregnated with silver nanoparticles might be a new option for preventing CAV in neurocritical care patients, and therefore evaluation in a large prospective randomized study is warranted.

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