What are the risk factors for development of subdural effusion in meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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In children with meningitis who are younger than 1 year, 20-50% of cases are complicated by sterile subdural effusions. Most of these effusions are transient and small to moderate in size. About 2% of them are infected secondarily and become subdural empyemas. In the empyema, infection and necrosis of the arachnoid membrane permit formation of a subdural collection.

In addition to young age, risk factors include rapid onset of illness, low peripheral white blood cell (WBC) count, and high CSF protein level. Seizures occur more commonly during the acute course of the disease, though long-term sequelae of promptly treated subdural effusions are similar to those of uncomplicated meningitis.

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