What is the role of imaging studies in the workup of pediatric pneumococcal infections?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Meera Varman, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Chest radiographs may reveal lobar or segmental consolidation or typical findings of round pneumonia.

In many centers, a head CT scan is performed in older children with meningitis to exclude increased intracranial pressure prior to performing lumbar puncture. No compelling evidence exists that CT findings are better than physical examination at predicting complications from lumbar puncture, and, in most patients, a CT scan causes unnecessary delay of lumbar puncture. In young children with an open fontanelle, a head CT scan is unnecessary unless physical findings suggest complications or a diagnosis other than meningitis. In children with persistent fevers despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy, a head CT scan, or preferably an MRI, should be performed to exclude subdural empyema. MRI is more sensitive than CT in the detection of subdural or epidural empyema.

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