Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 160, Issue 5, pp 1089–1096 | Cite as

Recurrent sampling and ventriculostomy-associated infections: a case-control study

  • Daniel Roan Thompson
  • Savvas Vlachos
  • Sabina Patel
  • Simeon Innocent
  • Christos Tolias
  • Konstantinos Barkas
Original Article - Infection



External ventricular drain (EVD) insertion is a common neurosurgical procedure with a significant risk of ventriculostomy-associated infections (VAIs), other morbidities and mortality. Several risk factors have been identified but their effect is unclear.


Our primary objective was to assess whether recurrent EVD sampling increased the risk of VAIs. The secondary objective was to explore the effect of sampling frequency, duration of EVD stay, presence of cerebrospinal fluid leak and concurrent infections.


Ours was a retrospective, single-centre, age-matched, case control study of 83 patients and 249 controls who underwent EVD insertion between 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2016. Patients with primary CNS infections, age under 1 year and death within 5 days of EVD insertion were excluded. Blinded abstractors collected all patient data through the electronic patient record system and regression analysis was used to compare the two groups.


Sampling the EVD more than once did not increase the risk of infection (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.27–0.83, p = 0.01). Risk factors significantly associated with VAI included CSF leak (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.16–3.67, p = 0.01), concurrent infection (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.09–3.16, p = 0.02), and an EVD duration of >10 days (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.24–4.18, p = 0.01).


Our findings do not support the notion that increased sampling of EVDs is associated with a higher risk of VAI. CSF leaks, concurrent infection and long-term EVDs are also statistically significant risk factors for infection.


Ventriculostomy Catheter-related infections Risk factors External ventricular drain Post-operative complications Cerebrospinal fluid Ventriculitis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organisation or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licencing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Health Research Authority) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Supplementary material

701_2018_3508_MOESM1_ESM.docx (158 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 157 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurosurgical DepartmentKing’s College HospitalLondonUK
  2. 2.LondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Critical Care MedicineKing’s College HospitalLondonUK
  4. 4.Medical SchoolKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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