Question 7

Compare and contrast external ventricular drains and intraparenchymal fibreoptic pressure monitors.

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College Answer

This question is ideally suited to a tabular format, where candidates are expected to highlight the significant similarities and differences as well as why a certain monitor may be chosen in preference to another rather than compile two lists written next to each other. To score well in this question, a statement of what could be measured (ICP: global vs local), a description of the measurement principles, along with other measurement related information like calibration and sources of error was required. Also sought was information regarding anatomical placement (e.g., lateral ventricle for EVD) and method of placement.

Furthermore, a comparison with each other (e.g., higher infection/bleeding risk with EVD, greater risk of trauma due to size and insertion, expertise to insert, cost, therapeutic benefit, risk of blocking) was required for completion. Candidates who structured these elements into advantages and disadvantages were generally able to elucidate this information and score better.