The real-world effectiveness of antibiotic-impregnated shunt catheters to reduce the incidence of shunt infections is still debated. The literature to date consists mostly of small, single-institution studies. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence of infection for antibiotic-impregnated catheters (AICs) versus standard shunt catheters in a large nationwide administrative database.
The authors retrospectively reviewed hospital discharge and billing records from the Premier Perspective Database from April 2003 to July 2009 to identify all adult and pediatric patients undergoing de novo ventricular shunt placement. The primary end point was the incidence of shunt infection within 1 year of implantation. Multivariate logistical regression was performed to determine factors associated with increased incidence of infection.
A total of 10,819 adult (AIC, 963; standard catheter, 9856) and 1770 pediatric (AIC, 229; standard catheter, 1541) patients underwent ventricular shunt placement in 287 US hospitals. Overall, the incidence of infection was 3.5% in adults (n = 380) and 6.6% in pediatric patients (n = 116). AICs were associated with significant reduction in infection for both adult (2.2% vs 3.6%, p = 0.02) and pediatric (2.6% vs 7.1%, p < 0.01) patients. AIC use was associated with reduced infection regardless of hospital size, annual shunt volume, hospital location, or patient risk factors and remained associated with a reduced infection in multivariate analysis for both adult (p = 0.02) and pediatric (p = 0.02) patients.
The use of antibiotic-impregnated shunt catheters was associated with a reduction in shunt infections for both adult and pediatric patients. This provides further support that AICs may represent a reliable means of reducing shunt infections for both adult and pediatric patients.