Caring for neurosurgical patients with external ventricular drains

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External ventricular drains are life-saving devices used in neurosurgical patients with hydrocephalus (excessive amounts of cerebrospinal fluid). The fluid is produced in the brain ventricles and circulates around the brain and spinal cord, protecting them from injury and supplying brain cells with nutrients. Hydrocephalus can occur due to impaired circulation or malabsorption and is a medical emergency, which can lead to raised intracranial pressure. Nurses are responsible for the care of patients who have external ventricular drains. This article explains how the drains work and discusses key nursing considerations for their management.This article has been double-blind peer reviewedIn this article…Cerebrospinal fluid production and circulation, and causes of hydrocephalusIndications for external ventricular drains, components and complicationsPractical points for safe nursing care of patients with external ventricular drains

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