Accuracy of external ventricular drainage catheter placement

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2012 Jan;154(1):153-9. doi: 10.1007/s00701-011-1136-9. Epub 2011 Sep 3.


Background: External ventricular drainage (EVD) is a freehand neurosurgical procedure performed routinely using the anatomical landmarks.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of EVD catheter freehand placement.

Materials and methods: Pre-operative and post-operative computed tomography scans for 66 consecutive EVDs performed in 56 adult patients (26 men, 30 women) in 2008 were retrospectively reviewed. Etiologies of acute hydrocephalus were subarachnoid or intraventricular haemorrhage (43 cases) or miscellaneous (13 cases). Pre-operative lateral ventricular volume, position of the burr hole, length of the catheter and its sagittal and coronal angular variations from a theoretical trajectory were measured.

Results: The EVD was placed on the right (53 cases) or left (13 cases) side. The mean pre-operative lateral ventricular volume was 51 cc (10-118 cc). The average distance from the burr hole to the midline was 28 mm (10-49 mm) and to the supra-orbital ridge was 101 mm (75-125 mm). The mean intracranial catheter length was 60 mm (from 39-102 mm). Only 50% of the EVDs in the coronal plane and 40% in the sagittal plane were placed with an angular variation of ±5° to the target. The tip was placed outside of the ventricles in three cases; 13 catheters crossed the midline, and five intracranial minor haemorrhages were detected.

Conclusion: Freehand placement of EVDs does not have sufficient accuracy and may lead to drainage dysfunctions. This data suggests that a guidance system for EVD's would be required.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheterization* / adverse effects
  • Catheterization* / methods
  • Catheterization* / standards
  • Drainage* / adverse effects
  • Drainage* / methods
  • Drainage* / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / etiology
  • Hydrocephalus / physiopathology
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery*
  • Lateral Ventricles / anatomy & histology
  • Lateral Ventricles / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Neurosurgical Procedures* / methods
  • Neurosurgical Procedures* / standards
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult