Risk factors for first cerebrospinal fluid shunt infection: Findings from a multi-center prospective cohort study

Tamara D. Simon, Jeremiah Butler, Kathryn B. Whitlock, Samuel R. Browd, Richard Holubkov, John R.W. Kestle, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Marcie Langley, David D. Limbrick, Nicole Mayer-Hamblett, Mandeep Tamber, John C. Wellons, William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin

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Objective To quantify the extent to which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt revisions are associated with increased risk of CSF shunt infection, after adjusting for patient factors that may contribute to infection risk. Study design We used the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network registry to assemble a large prospective 6-center cohort of 1036 children undergoing initial CSF shunt placement between April 2008 and January 2012. The primary outcome of interest was first CSF shunt infection. Data for initial CSF shunt placement and all subsequent CSF shunt revisions prior to first CSF shunt infection, where applicable, were obtained. The risk of first infection was estimated using a multivariable Cox proportional hazard model accounting for patient characteristics and CSF shunt revisions, and is reported using hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CI. Results Of the 102 children who developed first infection within 12 months of placement, 33 (32%) followed one or more CSF shunt revisions. Baseline factors independently associated with risk of first infection included: gastrostomy tube (HR 2.0, 95% CI, 1.1, 3.3), age 6-12 months (HR 0.3, 95% CI, 0.1, 0.8), and prior neurosurgery (HR 0.4, 95% CI, 0.2, 0.9). After controlling for baseline factors, infection risk was most significantly associated with the need for revision (1 revision vs none, HR 3.9, 95% CI, 2.2, 6.5; 2 revisions, HR 13.0, 95% CI, 6.5, 24.9). Conclusions This study quantifies the elevated risk of infection associated with shunt revisions observed in clinical practice. To reduce risk of infection risk, further work should optimize revision procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1462-1468.e2
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


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