Objective: The diagnosis and timely treatment of shunt infections (SI) in children is of paramount importance. In some cases, the standard cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) variables will not be sufficient for an accurate diagnosis of SI. CSF lactate (LCSF) has been found to assist in differentiating bacterial from nonbacterial meningitis in non-neurosurgical patients. To the best of our knowledge, the use of lactate in diagnosing or confirming the presence of SI has not yet been discussed. The goal of the present study was to describe the role of LCSF levels in children with shunts and Ommaya reservoirs and to evaluate its role in the accurate diagnosis of shunt-related infection. Methods: We retrospectively collected data for a consecutive series of pediatric patients treated at a large tertiary pediatric neurosurgical department, for whom CSF samples from shunts had been collected during a 2-year period (2016–2017). The lactate levels were correlated with the presence of SI. Results: A total of 61 CSF samples were analyzed, with 6 SIs found. The LCSF levels and white blood cell count were both found to correlate with the presence of CSF infections. A cutoff value of ≥2.95 mmol/L reached a sensitivity of 83%, specificity of 83%, and positive predictive value of 50%. LCSF <2.95 mmol/L had a negative predictive value of 96%. Conclusions: LCSF levels can be used as an additional chemical marker for the diagnosis and confirmation of SIs. An LCSF value of <2.95 mmol/L had a high negative predictive value.
- Shunt infection