Monday, May 12, 2008

Clinical feature and prognostic factors in adults with bacterial meningitis

van de Beek B, de Gans J, Spanjaard L et al. NEJM 2004; 351: 1849-59. Dutch study analysed 696 cases of community acquired acute bacterial meningitis seen 1998-2002. The classic triad of neck stiffness, fever, and change of mental status was seen in only 44 %, but 95 % had two of the four symptoms (the fourth symptom being headache). Mortality was 21 % and much higher with pc meningitis than mc meningitis (30 v. 7 %). Risk factors (negative risk) were advanced age, present otitis or sinusitis, absent rash, low GCS on admission, tachycardia, positive blood culture, elevated sed rate, thrombocytopenia, and low CSF WBC. Worst risk thus was with systemic compromise, low level of consciousness and infection with SC.

In more detail, HA occurred in 83 %, fever in 77 %, change in mental status in 69 % (GCS <14). Rash was present in 26 % and usually indicated mc infection (98 % of time) . 89 % of rashes were petechial. Only 3 % of those with information had papilledema.

Discussion of steroids: The european dexamethasone study showed adjunctive treatment with corticosteroids was beneficial although a posthoc analysis showed it to be more likely due to reduction in systemic than neurologic complications.

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