External ventricular drain practice variations: Results from a nationwide survey

Griffin R. Baum, Kristopher G. Hooten, Dennis T. Lockney, Kyle M. Fargen, Nefize Turan, Gustavo Pradilla, Gregory J.A. Murad, Robert E. Harbaugh, Michael Glantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE While guidelines exist for many neurosurgical procedures, external ventricular drain (EVD) insertion has yet to be standardized. The goal of this study was to survey the neurosurgical community and determine the most frequent EVD insertion practices. The hypothesis was that there would be no standard practices identified for EVD insertion or methods to avoid EVD-associated infections. METHODS The American Association of Neurological Surgeons membership database was queried for all eligible neurosurgeons. A 16-question, multiple-choice format survey was created and sent to 7217 recipients. The responses were collected electronically, and the descriptive results were tabulated. Data were analyzed using the chi-square test. RESULTS In total, 1143 respondents (15.8%) completed the survey, and 705 respondents (61.6%) reported tracking EVD infections at their institution. The most common self-reported infection rate ranged from 1% to 3% (56.1% of participants), and 19.7% of respondents reported a 0% infection rate. In total, 451 respondents (42.7%) indicated that their institution utilizes a formal protocol for EVD placement. If a respondent's institution had a protocol, only 258 respondents (36.1%) always complied with the protocol. Protocol utilization for EVD insertion was significantly more frequent among residents, in academic/hybrid centers, in ICU settings, and if the institution tracked EVD-associated infection rates (p < 0.05). A self-reported 0% infection rate was significantly more commonly associated with a higher level of training (e.g., attending physicians), private center settings, a clinician performing 6 to 10 EVD insertions within the previous 12 months, and prophylactic continuous antibiotic utilization (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS This survey demonstrated heterogeneity in the practices for EVD insertion. No standard practices have been proposed or adopted by the neurosurgical community for EVD insertion or complication avoidance. These results highlight the need for the nationwide standardization of technique and complication prevention measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1190-1197
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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