Impact of a Standardized Protocol and Antibiotic-Impregnated Catheters on Ventriculostomy Infection Rates in Cerebrovascular Patients

Neurosurgery 67:187-191, 2010 DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000370247.11479.B6

Ventriculostomy infections create significant morbidity. To reduce infection rates, a standardized evidence-based catheter insertion protocol was implemented. A prospective observational study analyzed the effects of this protocol alone and with antibiotic-impregnated ventriculostomy catheters.

OBJECTIVE: To compare infection rates after implementing a standardized protocol for ventriculostomy catheter insertion with and without the use of antibiotic-impregnated catheters.

METHODS: Between 2003 and 2008, 1961 ventriculostomies and infections were documented. A ventriculostomy infection was defined as 2 positive CSF cultures from ventriculostomy catheters with a concurrent increase in cerebrospinal fluid white blood cell count. A baseline (preprotocol) infection rate was established (period 1). Infection rates were monitored after adoption of the standardized protocol (period 2), institution of antibioticimpregnated catheter A (period 3), discontinuation of antibiotic-impregnated catheter A (period 4), and institution of antibiotic-impregnated catheter B (period 5).

RESULTS: The baseline infection rate (period 1) was 6.7% (22/327 devices). Standardized protocol (period 2) implementation did not change the infection rate (8.2%; 23/281 devices). Introduction of catheter A (period 3) reduced infections to 1.0% (2/195 devices, P = .0005). Because of technical difficulties, this catheter was discontinued (period 4), resulting in an increase in infection rate (7.6%; 12/157 devices). Catheter B (period 5) significantly decreased infections to 0.9% (9 of 1001 devices, P = .0001). The Staphylococcus infection rate for periods 1, 2, and 4 was 6.1% (47/765) compared with 0.2% (1/577) during use of antibioticimpregnated catheters (periods 3 and 5).

CONCLUSION: The use of antibiotic-impregnated catheters resulted in a significant reduction of ventriculostomy infections and is recommended in the adult neurosurgical population.