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Lwin S, Low SW, Choy D, Yeo TT, Chou N
Correspondence: Dr Sein Lwin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction External ventricular drain (EVD) infections can cause serious complications. We performed an audit of EVD infections within our neurosurgical unit. Through this study, we aimed to reduce the incidence of external ventricular drain-related infection, including ventriculities in neurosurgical patients.
Methods We conducted an audit of the EVD infections in our institution observed over a one-and-a-half year period. This was conducted in three phases. A baseline EVD infection rate was determined for Phase I, from January to June 2007. We introduced the following measures to reduce EVD infection rate in Phase II, from July to December 2007: (1) For Neurosurgery doctors: performing proper surgical techniques to minimise intra-operative infections; educating junior doctors on proper CSF sampling from the EVD; and minimising the number of days the EVD is maintained in situ; (2) For Neurosurgery nurse clinicians: developing Standard Operating Procedures on nursing management of EVDs; conducting EVD care workshops for nurses working in neurosurgical wards; and competency skill checks on the management of EVDs for nurses working in the neurosurgical wards. Silver-coated EVDs were introduced in Phase III of the study from January to June 2008.
Results The EVD infection rate decreased from a baseline of 6.1% to 3.8% in Phase II; a further reduction from 3.8% to 0% was achieved during Phase III.
Conclusion Good teamwork among doctors and nurses is essential for reducing EVD infection rate. We managed to reduce EVD infections substantially and would continue to strive to remain infection-free in the future.
Keywords: cerebrospinal fluid, external ventricular drain, infection
Singapore Med J 2012; 53(4): 255–259