Infection is a common complication of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts, occurring in 6%–20% of children. Although studies are limited, Staphylococcus aureus is thought to cause more rapid and aggressive infection than coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CONS) or gram-negative organisms. The authors’ objective was to evaluate the relationship between the causative organisms of CSF shunt infection and the timing of infection.
The authors performed a retrospective cohort study of children who underwent CSF shunt placement at a tertiary care children’s hospital over a 9-year period and subsequently developed a CSF shunt infection. The primary predictor variable was the causative organism recovered from CSF culture, characterized as S. aureus, CONS, or gram-negative organisms. The primary outcome was time to infection, defined as the number of days from most recent shunt intervention to the diagnosis of the infection. The association between causative organism and time to infection was visualized using Kaplan-Meier curves, and statistical comparisons were made using nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis tests.
Among 103 children in whom a CSF shunt infection developed, the causative organism was CONS in 57 (55%), S. aureus in 19 (18%), and gram-negative organisms in 9 (9%). The median time to infection did not differ (p = 0.81) for infections caused by CONS (20 days, IQR 11–40), S. aureus (26 days, IQR 12–95), and gram-negative organisms (23 days, IQR 17–34).
No significant difference in time to infection based on the causative organism was observed among children with a CSF shunt infection.