Cerebral Infarction: A Risk after Bacterial Meningitis

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A recent study conducted at the University of Amsterdam has found that cerebral infarction is a serious concern in adults who contract community-acquired bacterial meningitis. They indicate that steps taken to prevent cerebral infarction would decrease morbidity and mortality.

Approximately 80% to 85% of all bacterial meningitis is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or Neisseria meningitides; morbidity is 30% and 10%, respectively. Cerebrovascular complications are especially common in patients who have pneumoccal meningitis, with up to 29% affected.

These researchers looked at 696 patients, 25% of whom experienced a cerebral infarction pursuant to meningitis.  They identified several factors that increase the likelihood of cerebral infarction: older age, low level of consciousness, systemic inflammation, and infection with S. pneumonia.

More work is needed to determine if drug therapies can be used adjunctively to prevent cerebral infarction.