Complications of intrathecal baclofen pumps in children: Experience from a tertiary care center

Debabrata Ghosh, Gayatra Mainali, Jena Khera, Mark Luciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy is useful in treating spasticity and dystonia but it has many complications, more so in children. The main aim of the study was to look at the complications of ITB pumps in children with the goal of future prevention. Methods: Charts of all patients ≤21 years with an ITB pump, implanted by a single pediatric neurosurgeon, at a single center, between 1996 and 2011 were reviewed retrospectively. Data regarding an ITB test trial were also recorded. Results: During 1996-2011, 119 children (mean age 13.2 years) underwent ITB pump placement; 84% had spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The gross motor function classification system level was ≥4 for most. The pump was removed in 5 (4.2%) patients due to inefficacy. The mean follow-up was 38 months. Mechanical complications requiring pump and/or catheter revision occurred in 19.3% and infections in an additional 21.8%. Seven patients (6%) had meningitis. No complication was noted after 72 months of initial pump insertion, even after pump reinsertion. Conclusion: There is a need for better infection control as well as better pump, catheter and surgical technology to lower the complications of ITB pumps in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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