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Byers K , Axelrod P , Michael S , Rosen S
Infections Complicating Tunneled Intraspinal Catheter Systems Used to Treat Chronic Pain
Clinical Infectious Diseases. 1995 Aug;21(2) :403-408
PMID: ISI:A1995RM81700022   
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Tunneled intraspinal catheters and catheter-pump systems are increasingly common treatments for severe chronic pain, but these long-term catheters have caused meningitis, epidural abscesses, and other serious infections. At a cancer referral center, 81 catheters were placed in 72 patients over a 7-year period. There were seven catheter-associated infections: two were meningeal (one was accompanied by an epidural abscess and one by a pocket infection and bacteremia), four were associated with a pocket, and one was associated with a tunnel. The infection rate was 0.77 per 1,000 catheter-days. Pathogenic organisms that were isolated were primarily normal skin Bora. By multivariate Cox analysis, the only factor significantly associated with catheter infection was prolonged catheter placement surgery, i.e., a procedure lasting at least 100 minutes (RR, 8.8; 95% CI, 1.6-50). Three patients were cured by removal of the catheter and treatment with antibiotics, and symptoms were satisfactorily suppressed in four patients with antibiotics alone. Considering the severity of illness in catheter recipients, the infection rate was relatively low. Removal of the catheter does not appear mandatory when the goal is suppression of infection-related symptoms, especially when the infection has not spread to the CMS, the infecting organism has an intrinsically low virulence, and the infected patient is terminally ill.
Times Cited: 22 Article RM817 CLIN INFECT DIS