OBJECT The authors performed a prospective study to define the prevalence and microbiological characteristics of infections in patients undergoing craniotomy and to clarify the risk factors for post-craniotomy meningitis. METHODS Patients older than 18 years who underwent nonstereotactic craniotomies between January 2006 and December 2008 were included. Demographic, clinical, laboratory, and microbiological data were systemically recorded. Patient characteristics, craniotomy type, and pre- and postoperative variables were evaluated as risk factors for meningitis RESULTS Three hundred thirty-four procedures were analyzed (65.6% involving male patients). Traumatic brain injury was the most common reason for craniotomy. Almost 40% of the patients developed at least 1 infection. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) was the most common infection recorded (22.5%) and Acinetobacter spp. were isolated in 44% of the cases. Meningitis was encountered in 16 procedures (4.8%), and CSF cultures were positive for microbial growth in 100% of these cases. Gram-negative pathogens (Acinetobacter spp., Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloaceae, Proteus mirabilis) represented 88% of the pathogens. Acinetobacter and Klebsiella spp. demonstrated a high percentage of resistance in several antibiotic classes. In multivariate analysis, the risk for meningitis was independently associated with perioperative steroid use (OR 11.55, p = 0.005), CSF leak (OR 48.03, p < 0.001), and ventricular drainage (OR 70.52, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS Device-related postoperative communication between the CSF and the environment, CSF leak, and perioperative steroid use were defined as risk factors for meningitis in this study. Ventilator-associated pneumonia was the most common infection overall. The offending pathogens presented a high level of resistance to several antibiotics.
Keywords: CAB/BSI = catheter-associated bacteremia/blood stream infection; EVD = external ventricular drain; ICP = intracranial pressure; ICU = intensive care unit; LOS = length of stay; PCM = post-craniotomy meningitis; SSI = surgical site infection; UTI = urinary tract infection; VAP = ventilator-associated pneumonia; craniotomy; infection; meningitis; surgical site infections; ventilator-associated pneumonia.