The Aalborg Bolt-Connected Drain (ABCD) study: a prospective comparison of tunnelled and bolt-connected external ventricular drains
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Acutely increased intracranial pressure (ICP) is frequently managed by external ventricular drainage (EVD). This procedure is life-saving but marred by a high incidence of complications. It has recently been indicated that bolt-connected external ventricular drainage (BC-EVD) compared to the standard technique of tunnelled EVD (T-EVD) may result in less complications.
To prospectively sample and compare two cohorts by consecutive allocation to either BC-EVD or T-EVD from the introduction of the BC-EVD technique in our department and 12 months onward.
Patients undergoing ventriculostomy between the 1st of March 2017 and the 28th of February 2018 were considered for inclusion. The neurosurgeon on-call sovereignly set the indication and decided on EVD type (BC-EVD or T-EVD), consequently resulting in two cohorts as 3/7 senior neurosurgeons on call were open to the use of BC-EVD, while 4/7 were reluctant to use this technique. Data was continuously collected using patient records, including results of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culturing and available CT/MRI-scans. Recorded complications included CSF leakage, accidental discontinuation, placement-related intracranial haemorrhage, malfunction, migration, infection and revision.
Forty-nine EVDs (32 T-EVDs/17 BC-EVDs) were included; 19/32 (59.4%) T-EVDs and 3/17 (17.6%) BC-EVDs were found to have complications (p = 0.007). The relative risk of complications when using T-EVD was 3.4 times that of BC-EVD.
Ventriculostomy by BC-EVD compared to T-EVD reduces incidence and risk of complications and should be the first choice in EVD placement. That said, T-EVD has a role in paediatric patients and for intraoperatively and occipitally placed EVDs.
KeywordsComplications Cranial bolt Hydrocephalus Neurosurgical technique Subcutaneous drain tunnelling Ventriculostomy
Bolt-connected external ventricular drain
External ventricular drain(age)
Intensive care unit
Tunnelled external ventricular drain
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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