Risk Factors Associated with Postoperative Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks After Intrathecal Drug Delivery System and an External Pump Implantation in Cancer Patients: A Retrospective Study

Pain Ther. 2024 Jun;13(3):637-650. doi: 10.1007/s40122-024-00608-3. Epub 2024 May 9.


Introduction: To determine risk factors associated with postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leaks (CSFLs) after intrathecal drug delivery system (IDDS) and external pump implantation.

Methods: The clinical data of 248 patients with advanced cancer who underwent IDDS implantation from January 2021 to December 2022 at the Department of Pain Medicine at the Hunan Cancer Hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Information regarding age, gender, height, weight, body mass index (BMI), tumour type, albumin levels, haemoglobin levels, history of diabetes and pre- and postoperative anti-tumour therapy was collected and analysed.

Results: Postoperative CSFLs occurred in 7 of 231 patients (3.30%). Statistical analysis indicated that gender, age, height, weight, BMI, tumour type, albumin levels, haemoglobin levels, history of diabetes, pre- and postoperative chemotherapy, pre- and postoperative radiotherapy, preoperative immunotherapy and postoperative targeted therapy were not independent factors for CSFLs. Preoperative targeted therapy [odds ratio (OR): 16.64; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.42, 195.56; P = 0.01] and postoperative immunotherapy (OR: 13.38; 95% CI: 1.60, 111.65; P = 0.017) were factors associated with an increased postoperative CSFL rate. Of the two locations where CSFLs can occur, the back (puncture site of catheter, n = 4) and the hypochondriac region (location of infusion port implanted, n = 3), back CSFLs occurred earlier than in the hypochondriac region (18.25 ± 6.45 vs 115 ± 62.02 days, P = 0.032).

Conclusion: Based on the data from our study, the timing of preoperative targeted therapy and postoperative immunotherapy should be considered to prevent the occurrence of CSFLs in cancer pain patients who have an IDDS and external pump.

Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid leak; Intrathecal drug-delivery system; Risk factors.