Global trends in the evaluation and management of cerebrospinal fluid shunt infection: a cooperative ISPN survey

Mandana Behbahani, Syed I. Khalid, Sandi K. Lam, Adrian Caceres*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPS) is commonly performed by pediatric neurosurgeons and there is no consensus in management of VPS infection as it relates to diagnosis and treatment. Objective: We utilized an international practitioner-based survey to study the variability in VPS infection diagnostic and therapeutic measures. Methods: A survey gauging practice patterns of pediatric neurosurgeons regarding VPS and its complication management was distributed. Survey endpoints were analyzed by VPS case volume and pediatric-focused case volume regarding diagnostic measures, use of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) profile, microbiology, and treatment. Results: A total of 439 surveys were distributed, with a response rate of 31%. Responders ranged from Americas (44.9%), European (31.4%), Asian (18.6%), African (2.5%), to Australian continents (2.5%). Practitioners were stratified based on number and percentage pediatric VPS performed. Institutions performing highest VPS and percentage pediatric case volumes had lower rate of VPS infection. Shunt tap was the most widely used diagnostic study. Overall CSF profile did not affect decision making towards VPS internalization, except for leukocyte count ≤ 20 × 109/L. Practitioners utilized 3 negative cultures prior to VPS internalization. Discrepancies in surgical management were noted amongst centers with high versus low VPS volume and proportion of pediatric-focused case volume. Practice patterns were not noted to be organism dependent. Antibiotic-impregnated shunts were utilized in the Americas and Europe over other regions but only in one third of all initial VPS or as a preventive strategy after a VPS infection has been resolved respectively. Discussion: Survey results from 6 continents in VPS management revealed patterns of lower infection in high-volume centers, 3 negative cultures prior to internalization and aggressive surgical VPS infection management in high-volume institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2949-2960
Number of pages12
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Antibiotic-impregnated catheter
  • EVD
  • VPS
  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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