The first description of a device for repeated external ventricular drainage in the treatment of congenital hydrocephalus, invented in 1744 by Claude-Nicolas Le Cat

Pediatr Neurosurg. 2003 Jul;39(1):10-3. doi: 10.1159/000070872.


An 18th century report of a device for repeated extracranial drainage of cerebrospinal fluid in the treatment of congenital hydrocephalus is reviewed. On 15th October 1744, the French surgeon Claude-Nicolas Le Cat (1700-1768) introduced a specially invented canula into the lateral ventricle of a newborn boy with hydrocephalus. The canula was used as a tap and was left in place for 5 days, until the death of the child. This procedure should be seen as the first documented description of a device for repeated ventricular taps in the treatment of hydrocephalus.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts / history*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts / instrumentation
  • Drainage / history*
  • Drainage / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design / history
  • France
  • History, 18th Century
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / history*
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Infant
  • Male

Personal name as subject

  • Claude-Nicolas Le Cat