Alternative use for chlorhexidine dressings
Background: The incidence of external ventricular drain (EVD) infections remains high. Chlorhexidine dressings have demonstrated efficacy in reducing infections associated with indwelling catheters at other body sites, although evidence for their use with EVDs is limited.
Aim: The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficacy of chlorhexidine dressings in reducing EVD associated cerebrospinal fluid infection (EVDAI).
Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis. MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane library were queried for articles from inception. The primary outcome was the incidence of EVDAI. Secondary outcomes included device safety, microbiological outcomes and shunt-dependency.
Findings: From 896 unique records, 5 studies were included of which 4 presented suitable data for quantitative analysis including 3 case series and one underpowered randomised controlled trial. There was a high risk of bias in all studies. 880 patients were included with a mean age of 57.7 years (95% CI 57.4-58.0 years). In primary outcome analysis, the chlorhexidine dressing group had a significantly lower incidence of EVDAI (1.7% vs. 7.9%, RD = 0.07, 95% CI 0.00 – 0.13, p = 0.04).
Conclusion: Chlorhexidine dressings may reduce the incidence of EVDAI but require future study in randomised trials to definitively determine efficacy.
Waqar M, Chari A, Islim AI, Davies B, Fountain DM, Larkin S, Jenkinson MD, Patel HC. Chlorhexidine dressings could reduce external ventricular drain infections: results from a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Hosp Infect. 2021 Jun 23:S0195-6701(21)00239-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2021.06.006. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34174379.