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Infection related to external ventricular drain (EVD) use is a common neurosurgical complication. Modified catheters with a hydrophilic surface may impede bacterial adherence and thereby reduce catheter related cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) infection.
A prospective randomized clinical trial compared the occurrence of CSF infection related to use of either standard silastic or hydrogel coated EVD catheters (Bioglide®, Medtronic). Enrolment was available to all adult neurosurgery patients undergoing placement of a first EVD, at three university centers. The catheters were presoaked in a low concentration of bacitracin solution for 5-10 minutes prior to insertion. Bacterial infection was defined by heavy growth in a single CSF sample or light / medium growth in two consecutive samples. A secondary analysis was also conducted for “probable” CSF infection, including patients started on antibiotics after light / medium growth in a single CSF sample. Statistical analyses included Kaplan-Meier survival curve estimates accompanied by Log Rank and Breslow tests.
There were 158 randomized patients available to assess for EVD related infection of CSF. The two study groups had similar clinical characteristics including average duration of EVD use (8±4 days). Definite CSF infection occurred in seven and probable infection in another six (8% total). Infection incidence rose steadily from day 2 (1%) to day 11 (11%). There was no difference of daily occurrence of EVD infection between the two catheter types.
Infection remains a common hazard in the use of EVD, and we found no reduction of infection using the hydrogel-coated catheters when presoaked in low concentration bacitracin solution.
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