A Narrative Review of the Published Literature, Hospital Practices, and Policies Related to External Ventricular Drains in the United States: The External Ventricular Drain Publications, Practices, and Policies (EVDPoP) Study

J Neurosurg Anesthesiol. 2020 May 27. doi: 10.1097/ANA.0000000000000694. Online ahead of print.


External ventricular drain (EVD) placement and management pose risks to neurocritically ill patients. Yet, little is known about EVD management or hospital EVD management practices and policies in US hospitals. A narrative review was conducted to describe EVD-related publications reported in PubMed and Embase between 1953 and 2019, and a survey was used to examine US hospital EVD practices and policies, including adherence to EVD guideline recommendations. Overall, 912 relevant articles were published between 1953 and 2019 (average 21; range, 0 to 102 articles, per year), primarily related to indications for EVD placement (n=275, 30.2%), EVD-associated complications (n=206, 22.6%), and EVD care (n=200, 21.9%). The number of EVD publications increased over time (R=0.7), and most publications addressed EVD-associated infection (n=296, 73.4%) and EVD insertion (n=195, 45.2%). Survey responses were received from 30 hospitals (37.5% response rate), and reported use of antimicrobial-impregnated catheters in 80% of hospitals, preinsertion antibiotic administration in 70%, collection of cerebrospinal fluid samples for suspicion of ventriculitis in 73.3%, tracking of EVD-associated infection in 86.7%, routine EVD clamping during transport in 66.7%, and monitoring of intracranial pressure during transport in 33.3%. Adherence to hospital policies was high for recommendations related to flushing an EVD and changing cerebrospinal fluid drainage systems (100% [range, 0% to 100%] each), but low for intrahospital transportation (16.7% [0% to 83.3%]), EVD removal (0% [0% to 66.7%]), patient and family education (0% [0% to 100%]), and administration of intraventricular medication (0% [0% to 100%]). In summary, the published literature related to EVD insertion and maintenance, and reported EVD hospital practices and policies, primarily focus on reducing EVD-associated infections. Still, overall adherence of hospital EVD policies to guideline recommendations is modest. To promote a culture of EVD safety, clinicians should focus on reducing all EVD-associated adverse events.