Prolonged exposure to antibiotic-impregnated shunt catheters does not increase incidence of late shunt infections

Daniel Sciubba, Matthew J. McGirt, Graeme F. Woodworth, Benjamin Carson, George I. Jallo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objective: Antibiotic-impregnated shunt (AIS) systems have been designed to prevent the colonization of shunt components by skin flora that occurs at surgery. Although such systems may decrease the incidence of early shunt infections (those occurring within 6 months of shunt placement), it is unclear if such exposure to prolonged antibiotics leads to an increased incidence or virulence of late shunt infections (those occurring later than 6 months after shunt placement). In this study, the authors evaluate the incidence of late shunt infection after the introduction of an AIS system in a pediatric hydrocephalus population. Materials and methods: We prospectively reviewed all pediatric patients undergoing antibiotic-impregnated CSF shunt insertion or shunt revision operations at our institution for the 33 month period between October 1, 2002 and June 31, 2005. All shunt-related complications, including shunt infection, were evaluated in those patients with later than 6 months of follow-up. Results: A total of 153 pediatric patients (between 1 and 21 years of age) underwent 262 shunting procedures involving the use of antibiotic-impregnated catheters. All patients were followed-up for later than 6 months with a mean follow-up of 21.7 months (range 13-46 months). Ten patients (3.82%) experienced an early shunt infection within the 6-month follow-up period. No patients experienced a late shunt infection. Conclusion: Although concern exists that AIS systems may delay shunt infections or even increase the rate or virulence of such infections, introduction of such catheters into a pediatric hydrocephalus cohort does not significantly increase incidence of late CSF shunt infection compared to historic controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-871
Number of pages5
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Antibiotic
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Infection
  • Pediatric
  • Shunts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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