What are negative prognostic factors in adults with bacterial meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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In bacterial meningitis, several risk factors are associated with death and with neurologic disability. A risk score has been derived and validated in adults with bacterial meningitis. This score includes the following variables, which are associated with an adverse clinical outcome [15] :

  • Older age

  • Increased heart rate

  • Lower Glasgow Coma Scale score

  • Cranial nerve palsies

  • CSF leukocyte count lower than 1000/μL

  • Gram-positive cocci on CSF Gram stain

Advanced bacterial meningitis can lead to brain damage, coma, and death. In 50% of patients, several complications may develop in the days to weeks following infection. Long-term sequelae are seen in as many as 30% of survivors and vary with etiologic agent, patient age, presenting features, and hospital course. Patients usually have subtle CNS changes.

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