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March 2, 1984

Prophylactic Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim in Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Surgery: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Infectious Diseases (Drs Wang and Prober), and Neurosurgery (Drs Hendrick, Hoffman, and Humphreys), The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto.

JAMA. 1984;251(9):1174-1177. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340330032019

We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during a 30-month period to determine whether sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim would decrease the incidence of infections occurring after ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery. Of the 120 patients who completed the study according to protocol, 55 received sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim and 65 received placebo. The incidence of CSF infection in the group receiving sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (4/55) was similar to that in the control group (5/65). There was a trend toward earlier identification of infections in the sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim group (mean, 24.5 days) compared with the control group (mean, 47 days). There was no difference between infected and uninfected patients with respect to frequency of purported risk factors for infection, including history of shunt infection, history of recent myelomeningocele repair, and type and duration of shunt surgery. The incidence of shunt malfunction was similar in uninfected patients receiving antibiotic prophylaxis (18/51) compared with that of patients receiving placebo (23/60). We did not find that the perioperative use of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim reduced the incidence of shunt infection or malfunction.

(JAMA 1984;251:1174-1177)