Which tests should be performed first for acute meningitis?

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

In acute meningitis, regardless of presentation, a lumbar puncture (LP) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination are indicated to identify the causative organism and, in bacterial meningitis, the antibiotic sensitivities. Computed tomography (CT) of the head should be performed a before LP, if indicated. If no mass effect is present on head CT, LP is performed to obtain microbiology studies.


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