Subdural drain for chronic subdural hematoma

Subdural drain for chronic subdural hematoma

see also Subdural Evacuating Port System.

Little is known about the best type of drainage system and its relationship with recurrence. In a study, Takroni et al. compared the use of two drainage systems on the recurrence rate of CSDH. They retrospectively analyzed the charts of 180 CSDH patients treated with bedside twist drill craniostomy (TDC) and subdural drain insertion. Patients were divided into two groups: Group A (n=123) received our traditional drain (pediatric size nasogastric tube (NGT), while group B (n=49) had the external ventricular drain (EVD). Various demographic and radiological data were collected. Our main outcome was recurrence, defined as symptomatic re-accumulation of hematoma on the previously operated side within 3 months. Results 212 cases of subdural hematoma were treated in 172 patients. Majority of patients were male (78%) and had a history of previous head trauma (73%). 17 cases had recurrence, 11 in the NGT group drain and 6 in the EVD group. The use of antiplatelet or anticoagulation agents was associated with recurrence (P= 0.038 and 0.05, respectively). There was no difference between both groups in terms of recurrence [OR=1.42, 95% CI:0.49 to 4.08, P=0.573].

Chronic subdural hematoma is a common disease with a high rate of recurrence. Although using a drain postoperatively has shown to improve the incidence of recurrence, little remains known about the best type of drain to use. The analysis showed no difference in the recurrent rate between using the pediatric size NGT and the EVD catheter post TDC 1).

There is some evidence that postoperative drainage is effective in reducing the symptomatic recurrence of chronic subdural hematoma surgery. Further research is likely to have an important impact on confidence in the estimate of effect and may change the estimate. Due to the low quality of the evidence for the secondary outcomes, the effect of drainage on the occurrence of surgical complications, mortality and poor functional outcome is uncertain. This uncertainty can be clarified with data from high-quality studies which may be conducted in the future. There is no strong evidence of any increase in complications when drains are used 2).

Soleman et al. administered a survey to neurosurgeons worldwide with questions relating to the surgical treatment of chronic subdural hematoma, with an emphasis on their practices concerning the use of a drain.

The preferred surgical technique was burr-hole drainage (89%). Most surgeons prefer to place a drain (80%), whereas in 56% of the cases the reason for not placing a drain was brain expansion after evacuation. Subdural drains are placed by 50% and subperiosteal drains by 27% of the responders, whereas 23% place primarily a subdural drain if possible and otherwise a subperiosteal drain. Three quarters of the responders leave the drain for 48 hours and give prophylactic antibiotic treatment, mostly a single-shot dose intraoperatively (70%). Routine postoperative computed tomography is done by 59% mostly within 24-48 hours after surgery (94%). Adjunct treatment to surgery rarely is used (4%).

The publication of grade I evidence in favor of drain use influenced positively this practice worldwide. Some surgeons are still reluctant to insert a drain, especially when the subdural space is narrow after drainage of the hematoma. The insertion of a subperiosteal drain could be a good alternative solution. However, its outcome and efficacy must be evaluated in larger studies 3).

Tommiska et al., conducted a retrospective observational study including consecutive patients undergoing burr hole trephinations for chronic subdural hematomas (CSDHs). They compared outcomes between a six-month time period when the SD placement was arbitrary (July to December 2015) and a time period when subdural drain (SD) placement for 48 h was routine (July to December 2017). The primary outcome of interest was recurrences requiring reoperation within six months. Furthermore, patient outcomeinfections and other complications were assessed.

A total of 161 patients were included, of which 71 (44%) were in the SD group and 90 (56%) in the non-drain group. There were no differences in age, comorbidities, history of trauma or use of antithrombotic medication between the groups (p>0.05). Recurrences within six months occurred in 18% of patients in the non-drain group compared to 6% in the SD group (p=0.028; OR 0.28; 95% CI 0.09-0.87). There were no differences in neurological outcome (p=0.72), mortality rate (p=0.55), infection rate (p=0.96) or other complications (p=0.20).

The change in practice from no drain to SD after burr-hole craniostomies for CSDHs effectively reduced the six-month recurrence rate without any effect on patient outcome, infections or other complications 4).

Subdural drain for chronic subdural hematoma complications.


Takroni R, Zagzoog N, Patel N, Martyniuk A, Farrokhyar F, Singh S, Trivedi A, Alotaibi M, Algird A. Comparison of two drainage systems on chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) recurrence. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2021 Nov 16. doi: 10.1055/a-1698-6212. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34784622.

Peng D, Zhu Y. External drains versus no drains after burr-hole evacuation for the treatment of chronic subdural haematoma in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Aug 31;(8):CD011402. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011402.pub2. Review. PubMed PMID: 27578263.

Soleman J, Kamenova M, Lutz K, Guzman R, Fandino J, Mariani L. Drain Insertion in Chronic Subdural Hematoma: An International Survey of Practice. World Neurosurg. 2017 Aug;104:528-536. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.04.134. Epub 2017 Apr 28. PubMed PMID: 28461277.

Tommiska P, Lönnrot K, Raj R, Luostarinen T, Kivisaari R. Transition of a clinical practice to use of subdural drains after burr-hole evacuation of chronic subdural haematomas: The Helsinki experience. World Neurosurg. 2019 May 31. pii: S1878-8750(19)31507-4. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2019.05.230. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31158547.

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