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Original research
Physical characteristics of catheters used for subarachnoid drainage
  1. A Ian Wong1,
  2. Shengqiang Gao2,
  3. Mark D Bain3,
  4. Brian Fitzsimons4,
  5. Ferdinand K Hui3
  1. 1School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  2. 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  3. 3Cerebrovascular Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  4. 4Department of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ferdinand K Hui, Cerebrovascular Center, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Ave S80, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA; huif{at}


Background Cerebrospinal fluid diversion through lumbar drainage catheters is a routine procedure that is used in a variety of clinical applications. Fracture of catheters during insertion or removal may result in retained foreign bodies that may lead to patient morbidity with potential legal ramifications. Fracture resistance is an important component of drain selection.

Objective To analyze catheter integrity to determine which commercially available catheters are most robust and resistant to fracture.

Methods Physical properties of the commercially available drainage catheters that can be advanced through a Touhy needle were assessed using laboratory equipment and reported. Five types of catheter were analyzed for break load, tensile strength, extension at break, and shear strength.

Results and conclusions Of the five types of catheter, the Arrow catheter showed the greatest resistance to fracture. Of the drainage catheters, the Codman catheter showed the greatest resistance to fracture.

  • Catheter
  • Subarachnoid

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