HCRN Publishes Lower Infection Rates

The longest running HCRN project has recently been accepted for publication in the Journal of Neurosurgery. The initial four HCRN centers (Primary Children’s Medical Center inSalt Lake City, Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham, Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston) agreed on a standardized protocol for doing shunt surgery. The hypothesis of this quality improvement project was that reducing variation and standardizing the approach across centers would reduce the infection rate. It worked! The centers’ infection rate prior to the protocol was 8.8%, and it fell to 5.7% after the protocol was implemented. This study established initial collaboration and cooperation amongst the HCRN centers and has established a common baseline from which future studies can be launched.


  1. What specifically was done in the protocol to reduce the infection rate?

    What were the procedures being done previously which contributed to an increased infection rate?

    What organisms are most common in shunt surgery infections?
    Thank you. (A concerned grandmother and microbiologist.)

  2. Cindy,

    The protocol will be published shortly and we will make a link available on our website for you to understand the details.

    The previous infection rate was already below the national average. The protocol is an implementation of the “quality improvement” methodology that has demonstrated that reduction in variation produces better outcomes.

    The organisms were not reported on in this publication but are most commonly skin organisms.


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