An Evaluation of Commonly Used External Ventricular Drain Securement Methods in a Porcine Model: Recommendations to Improve Practice

World Neurosurg. 2018 Feb;110:e197-e202. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.10.138. Epub 2017 Nov 2.


Background: External ventricular drain (EVD) dislodgement is common and leads to significant morbidity and mortality. Many securement techniques to prevent this are described. There are, however, no objective studies comparing them. This study aimed to determine the most secure method of securing an EVD.

Methods: A survey was distributed through the British Neurosurgical Trainee Research Collaborative to determine common EVD securement methods and select techniques for testing. Securement methods were tested in a pig cadaver model. Peak pull force before EVD failure was measured. Failure was defined as catheter displacement 1 cm from the insertion site, catheter fracture, or suture fracture.

Results: Twenty-three neurosurgical units responded. Five basic EVD securement methods were in common use. These were tested in isolation and in combination so that in total 15 common methods were tested. The most secure method was a triple construct, consisting of an anchoring suture, sutures around a coil of the catheter, and either a soft plastic flange (25.85 N, 95% confidence interval 24.95 N-26.75 N) or a hard plastic flange (29.05 N, 95% confidence interval 25.69 N-32.41 N). Of the individual methods, single anchoring sutures, soft flanges, VentriFix, and staples were found to be the least secure, whereas multiple sutures and hard flanges were the most secure.

Conclusions: An anchoring suture followed by a coil of the catheter and finally a flange is the most secure method for securing EVDs. This simple technique can withstand up to 8.2 times the force of a single anchoring suture, is easily used, and decreases the likelihood of EVD dislodgement and associated complications.

Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid; External ventricular drain; Securement; Technique; Ventriculitis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts / methods*
  • Drainage / instrumentation
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Equipment Failure
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sus scrofa
  • Sutures