Objectives The placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is a common neurosurgical operation that carries great benefit in acute hydrocephalus but is not without risk. In our centre, bolt EVDs (B-EVD) are being placed in favour of tunnelled EVDs (T-EVD). The former has allowed for urgent CSF diversion in ITU. We compared EVD survival and complication rates between the two types of EVDs.
Design Single centre prospective case-cohort.
Subjects Twenty-five patients with B-EVDs and thirty-four patients with T-EVDs.
Methods Clinical notes and radiographic reports were collected before and after the placement of EVDs for patients in ITU between January 2017 and June 2018.
Results Fourteen of the 25 B-EVDs were placed on ITU, of which 2 were under stealth guidance. All 34 T-EVDs were placed in theatre. Mean time to CSF access after decision for diversion was 134 min in the B-EVD group and 227 min in the T-EVD group (p<0.05). Mean survival was 35 days for B-EVDs and 29 days for T-EVDs (p<0.05). Eight T-EVDs went onto be replaced as B-EVDs due to retraction or infection. Complications including infection, detachment or retraction were higher in the T-EVD group at 32% compared to 20% in the B-EVD group.
Conclusions Bolt EVDs have a lower frequency of complications and higher survival compared to tunnelled EVDs. Since B-EVDs require fewer resources they can be placed faster and on ITU.
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