What is the disease course of untreated bacterial meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Depending on the severity of bacterial meningitis, the inflammatory process may remain confined to the subarachnoid space. In less severe forms, the pial barrier is not penetrated, and the underlying parenchyma remains intact. However, in more severe forms of bacterial meningitis, the pial barrier is breached, and the underlying parenchyma is invaded by the inflammatory process. Thus, bacterial meningitis may lead to widespread cortical destruction, particularly when left untreated.


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