Pilot Study of Neurologic Pupil Index as A Predictor of External Ventricular Drain Clamp Trial Failure After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Abdulkadir Kamal, Khalid M. Ahmed, Aardhra M. Venkatachalam, Mohamed Osman, Salah G. Aoun, Venkatesh Aiyagari, Nathan Schneider, Heather Hasan-Washington, Sonja E. Stutzman, Dai Wai M. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: External ventricular drains (EVDs) provide a temporary egress for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients with symptomatic hydrocephalus following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Before EVD removal, a wean trial, which involves clamping the EVD, is typically attempted to ensure that CSF self-regulation is achieved. Automated infrared pupillometry (AIP) has been shown to detect early neurologic decline. We sought to explore the use of AIP to detect early EVD clamping trial failure. Methods: This prospective observational pilot study enrolled aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients before an EVD clamp trial. On initiating the clamp trial, nurses included hourly AIP assessment in documentation. Clamp trial outcome was based on neurologic examination and neuroimaging. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) models were constructed to explore computed tomography (CT) versus AIP as predictors of clamp trial outcome. Results: Among the 30 subjects enrolled, there were 38 clamping trials and 22 successful EVD removals. CT scan as a predictor of clamp trial was found to have a sensitivity of 68.8% and specificity of 89.5% (PPV = 84.6%, NPV = 77.3%). AIP assessment as a predictor of wean trial outcome was found to have a sensitivity of 58.3% and specificity of 100% (PPV = 100%, NPV = 63.2%). Conclusions: The pilot study data support that Neurological Pupil index <3 is a potential indicator of early clamp trial failure, but a CT scan has a higher sensitivity and NPV for predicting successful EVD removal. This finding suggests the benefits of including AIP assessments during clamping trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-7
Number of pages6
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Cerebral spinal fluid
  • Critical care
  • External ventricular drain
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Nursing
  • Pupil
  • Pupillometer
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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