Continuous irrigation is an important adjunct for successful intraventricular endoscopy, particularly for complex cases. It allows better visualization by washing out blood and debris, improves navigation by expanding the ventricles, and assists with tissue dissection. A method of irrigation delivery using a centrifugal pump designed originally for cardiac surgery is presented.
The BioMedicus centrifugal pump has the desirable ability to deliver a continuous laminar flow of fluid that excludes air from the system. A series of modifications to the pump tubing was performed to adapt it to neuroendoscopy. Equipment testing determined flow and pressure responses at various settings and simulated clinical conditions. The pump was then studied clinically in 11 endoscopy cases and eventually used in 310 surgical cases.
Modifications of the pump tubing allowed for integration with different endoscopy systems. Constant flow rates were achieved with and without surgical instruments through the working ports. Optimal flow rates ranged between 30 and 100 ml/min depending on endoscope size. Intraoperative use was well tolerated with no permanent morbidity and showed consistent flow rates, minimal air accumulation, and seamless irrigation bag replacement during prolonged surgery. Although the pump is equipped with an internal safety mechanism to protect against pressure buildup when outflow obstructions occur, equipment testing revealed that flow cessation is not instantaneous enough to protect against sudden intracranial pressure elevation.
A commonly available cardiac pump system was modified to provide continuous irrigation for intraventricular endoscopy. The system alleviates the problems of inconsistent flow rates, air in the irrigation lines, and delays in changing irrigation bags, thereby optimizing patient safety and surgical efficiency. Safe use of the pump requires good ventricular outflow and, clearly, sound surgical judgment.