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Incidence of infections of ventricular reservoirs in the treatment of post-haemorrhagic ventricular dilatation: a retrospective study (1992–2003)


Background: Since 1992, infants with progressive posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation (PHVD) have been treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands, with a ventricular reservoir.

Objective: To retrospectively study the incidence of infection using this invasive procedure.

Methods: Between January 1992 and December 2003, 76 preterm infants were treated with a ventricular reservoir. Infants admitted during two subsequent periods were analysed: group 1 included infants admitted during 1992–7 (n = 26) and group 2 those admitted during 1998–2003 (n = 50). Clinical characteristics and number of reservoir punctures were evaluated. The incidence of complications over time was assessed, with a focus on the occurrence of infection of the reservoir.

Results: The number of punctures did not change during both periods. Infection was significantly less common during the second period (4% (2/50) v 19.2% (5/26), p = 0.029).

Conclusion: The use of a ventricular reservoir is a safe treatment to ensure adequate removal of cerebrospinal fluid in preterm infants with PHVD. In experienced hands, the incidence of infection of the ventricular reservoir or major complications remains within acceptable limits.

  • CSF, cerebrospinal fluid
  • GMH-IVH, germinal matrix—intraventricular haemorrhages
  • PHVD, post-haemorrhagic ventricular dilatation

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