Reduction in external ventricular drain infection rate. Impact of a minimal handling protocol and antibiotic-impregnated catheters

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:647–651. DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0905-1

Many strategies have been developed with the aim of reducing external ventricular drain-related infections. Antibiotic-impregnated catheters are one of them.

Material and methods We report 648 cases of external ventricular drain from a total of 534 patients treated at the Virgen del Rocío Hospital between 1995 and 2006. Three subgroups were considered: group 1 included patients treated between 1995 and 2000, as well as a total of 190 external ventricular drains and 59 cases of infection (31.05%); group 2, with patients treated between 2000 and 2004 and managed with a minimal handling protocol, included 210 external ventricular drains and nine cases of infection (4.29%); and group 3, treated between 2004 and 2006, with 248 external ventricular drains and six cases of infection (2.41%). This latter subgroup included patients managed with a minimal handling protocol and antibiotic-impregnated catheters.

Results Infection rate was 17% when non-antibioticimpregnated catheters were employed and 2.41% when antibiotic-impregnated catheters were inserted (p<0.001). This difference was statistically significant before and after the introduction of a minimal handling protocol, with percentages of 5.31% and 3.27%, respectively (p<0.001; odds ratio 0.08; absolute risk reduction 27.26%). However, no statistically significant difference was observed in infection rate when the impact of a minimal handling protocol was considered: 4.29% when only the protocol was introduced and 2.41% when both the protocol and antibiotic-impregnated catheters were used (p>0.05).

Conclusion Minimal handling protocols constitute an essential strategy in the reduction of external ventricular drain-related infections. Besides that, the use of antibiotic-impregnated catheters may reduce infection-related hospital costs.

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