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Free Content Subcutaneous ventricular catheter reservoir and ventriculoperitoneal drain-related infections in preterm infants and young children

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Objective In the period January 1990 to September 1997, 70 patients, aged under 6 years were treated for hydrocephalus with a subcutaneous ventricular catheter reservoir and/or a ventriculoperitoneal drain at the University Hospital of Maastricht.

Methods By means of a retrospective chart analysis, the number of shunt infections and related risk factors were analyzed.

Results Twenty-one patients (30%) developed one or more infections, with an infection rate of 15.2% per surgical event. For an implanted reservoir or drain, the infection rates were 15.9 and 16.4%, respectively. The study group consisted of 39 (55.7%) preterm infants (<37 weeks) and 31 (44.3%) full-term infants (37 weeks), with infection rates of 33.3 and 25.8%, respectively. At the first surgical intervention 28 patients (40%) had a postmenstrual age less than 37 weeks, with an infection rate of 46.4%. At the time of surgery, 69.7% of the patients were aged less than 6 months, with an infection rate of 19.6%. The most frequent causative microorganism of the shunt infections was Staphylococcus epidermidis (42.1%).

Conclusions Prematurity is an important risk factor for ventricular catheter reservoir and ventriculoperitoneal drain-related infections, especially for patients with a postmenstrual age of less than 37 weeks at their initial shunt placement and extreme low birth weight infants have a high risk for infection. In our opinion the use of adequate antibiotic prophylaxis and optimal infection control measures are necessary to keep the rate of infection as low as possible.
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Keywords: hydrocephalus; preterm infants; shunt infection; subcutaneous ventricular catheter reservoir; ventriculoperitoneal drain

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medical Microbiology, 2: Department of Neurosurgery, 3: Department of Neurology and 4: Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2000-04-01

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