Shunt infection in the first year of life

Meysam A. Kebriaei, Mohamm Adali M. Shoja, Steven M. Salinas, Kristina L. Falkenstrom, Eric A. Sribnick, R. Shane Tubbs, Andrew Reisner, Joshua J. Chern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Object. Children younger than 1 year of age are unique in their physiology and comorbidities. Reports in the literature suggest that the risk factors for shunt infection may be different in this population compared with older children. Importantly, these infants often have other congenital malformations requiring various surgical interventions, which impose an additional risk of infection. Methods. In the 3-year period between 2008 and 2010, 270 patients underwent initial CSF shunt placement during the 1st year of life. Clinical characteristics, hospital course, and shunt infections were prospectively recorded in the practice and hospital electronic medical record. Special attention was given to types and timing of other invasive procedures and their relationship with shunt infection. Results. The average gestational age was 33.6 weeks, and the average birth weight was 2333 g. The average weight at the time of shunt insertion was 4281 g. Prior to shunt insertion, 120 patients underwent 148 surgical procedures, including ventricular access device insertion (n = 63), myelomeningocele closure (n = 37), and cardiac procedures (n = 11), among others. In the 12-month period after shunt insertion, 121 of the 270 patients underwent 135 surgical procedures, which included 79 CSF shunt revisions. Shunt infection occurred in 22 patients, and organisms were identified in 20 cases. Univariate analysis showed that of the very prematurely born infants (gestational age < 30 weeks), those who underwent preshunt cardiac surgery and any surgical procedures within 30 days after the shunt insertion were at a greater risk of shunt infection. In multivariate analysis, preshunt cardiac surgery and surgical procedures within 30 days postshunt placement were significant risk factors independent of gestational age, birth weight, and history of shunt revisions. Conclusions. The results of this study suggest that surgical procedures within 30 days after shunt insertion and preshunt cardiac surgery are associated with a greater risk of shunt infection in children in whom these devices were inserted during the 1st year of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrocephalus
  • Infancy
  • Prematurity
  • Shunt infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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