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Pediatric hydrocephalus: systematic literature review and evidence-based guidelines. Part 6: Preoperative antibiotics for shunt surgery in children with hydrocephalus: a systematic review and meta-analysis



Pediatric hydrocephalus: systematic literature review and evidence-based guidelines. Part 6: Preoperative antibiotics for shunt surgery in children with hydrocephalus: a systematic review and meta-analysis



Journal of Neurosurgery. Pediatrics 14(Suppl. 1): 44-52



The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was twofold: to answer the question "What is the evidence for the effectiveness of prophylactic intravenous antibiotics for infection prevention in shunt surgery?" and to make treatment recommendations based on the available evidence. The US National Library of Medicine PubMed/MEDLINE database and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were queried using MeSH headings and key words relevant to prophylactic antibiotic use in children undergoing a shunt operation. Abstracts were reviewed to identify which studies met the inclusion criteria. An evidentiary table was assembled summarizing the studies and the quality of evidence (Classes I-III). A meta-analysis was conducted using a random-effects model to calculate a cumulative estimate of treatment effect using risk ratio (RR). Heterogeneity was assessed using chi-square and I(2) statistics. A sensitivity analysis was also conducted. Based on the quality of the literature and the result of the meta-analysis, a recommendation was rendered (Level I, II, or III). Nine studies (4 Class I, 3 Class II, and 2 Class III) met our inclusion criteria. Of 7 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 3 were downgraded from Class I to Class II because of significant quality issues, and all RCTs were potentially underpowered. In only 2 Class in retrospective cohort studies were preoperative antibiotic agents found to be protective against shunt infection. When data from the individual studies were pooled together, the infection rate in the prophylactic antibiotics group was 5.9% compared with 10.7% in the control group. Using a random-effects model, the cumulative RR was 0.55 (95% CI 0.38-0.81), indicating a protective benefit of prophylactic preoperative intravenous antibiotics. A sensitivity analysis of RCTs only (n = 7) also demonstrated a statistical benefit, but an analysis of higher-quality RCTs only (n = 4) did not. Conclusions Within the limits of this systematic review and meta-analysis, administration of preoperative antibiotic agents for shunt surgery in children was found to lower the infection risk (quality of evidence: Class II; strength of recommendation, Level II). The use of preoperative antibiotic agents can be recommended to prevent shunt infection in patients with hydrocephalus. It was only by combining the results of the various underpowered studies (meta-analysis) that the use of preoperative antibiotics for shunt surgery in children was shown to lower the risk of shunt infection. Level II, moderate degree of clinical certainty.

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Accession: 058519877

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25988782

DOI: 10.3171/2014.7.peds14326


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