Impact of an External Ventricular Drain Placement and Handling Protocol on Infection Rates: A Meta-Analysis and Single Institution Experience

Emily P. Sieg, Abraham C. Schlauderaff, Russell A. Payne, Michael J. Glantz, Scott D. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Numerous studies have examined the impact of initiating an external ventricular drain (EVD) placement and handling protocol on the infection rate dating back to the early 2000s. Methods: We report a quantitative systematic review of the published literature, described our own protocol (including a mandatory checklist), and present our single institution experience. Search terms “external ventricular drain protocol” or “external ventricular drain placement protocol” or “preventing infections in external ventricular drains” or “external ventricular drain infections” were entered into standard search engines in a systematic fashion. Articles were reviewed and graded independently for class of evidence. There were 10 relevant class IV articles and no discrepancies among article ratings (i.e., κ = 1). The published evidence was reviewed and evaluated using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria. Results: Our meta-analysis revealed a statistically significant drop in rates of EVD infection after initiation of the protocol, although the overall quality of the body of evidence according to the GRADE criteria was “very poor”. Preimplementation and postimplementation infection rates were collected and analyzed in combination with the results from our literature review. The EVD infection rate in our institution was 12% in the 8 months before protocol initiation (January 2015 to August 2015), and dropped to 0% in the 7 months after initiation. Conclusions: Although the quality of the literature supporting EVD placement protocols is poor, all published studies show a consistent and substantial benefit, and this effect was recapitulated in our own meta-analysis–based prospective EVD protocol experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e53-e58
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • External ventricular drain infection
  • External ventricular drain placement
  • External ventricular drain protocol
  • Meta-analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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