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Failure of regular external ventricular drain exchange to reduce CSF infection
  1. I E Sandalcioglu,
  2. D Stolke
  1. 1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Essen, Hufelandstr 55, 45122 Essen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr I Erol Sandalcioglu;
 sandalciogluuni-essen.de

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Dr Wong and colleagues undertook quite a careful prospective randomised trial aiming to determine whether routine changing of external ventricular drainage catheters reduces the risk of CSF infection.1 Patients were randomised into two groups: group 1 (n  =  51) had routine changes of the external ventricular drain at five day intervals; in group 2 (n  =  52) the ventricular drain was not changed. There was no difference with respect to the basic demographic data and the incidence of CSF infection. The authors observed four CSF infections in group 1 (7.8%) and two in group 2 (3.8%). Despite the higher CSF infection rate in group 1, this difference was not statistically significant. Based on their results, the authors concluded that “routinely changing external ventricular drainage catheters at five day intervals did not reduce the risk of CSF infection”.

The topic of ventricular catheters and the risk of CSF infection has been dealt with in numerous reports. The continuing interest for neurosurgeons is largely based on the fact that quite controversial recommendations have been published …

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