What are the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) characteristics of tuberculous meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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In patients with tuberculous meningitis, the CSF is characterized by a predominantly lymphocytic pleocytosis; an elevated protein level, especially if a CSF block is present; and a low glucose level (< 40 mg/dL). PCR testing can provide a rapid diagnosis, though false-negative results may occur in samples containing very few organisms (< 2 colony-forming units [cfu]/mL). (See Tuberculous Meningitis.)

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