Clinical data and factors associated with poor outcome in pneumococcal meningitis

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We carried out a 4-year study of 159 children (ages 1 month-14 years) with pneumococcal meningitis. The study was divided into two periods: the retrospective period (1998-2000: 107 patients), and the prospective period (2001-2002: 52 patients). About 2/3 of the children were under 2 years of age: 72 (45%) were under 1 year of age and 38 (24%) had meningitis during the second year of life. One-third of the patients had signs of otitis media; convulsions were more frequent in patients under 1 year compared with older patients (34.7 vs. 14.9%; P=0.004); 13/159 children (8.2%) died; 93/159 (58.5%) recovered completely, 12.6% had motor sequelae, 6.9% hydrocephalus, 29.8% sensorineural hearing loss; 140/159 (88%) were treated with third generation cephalosporins, yet only 8.7% of the pneumococci identified were completely penicillin-resistant (≥1 μg/ml); 119/159 were treated with dexamethasone. Four patients had received an injection of heptavalent vaccine. Antibiotics for 1 week prior to admission, shock, abnormal pupils, leukocytes count <6,000 mm3, and CSF glucose ≤8.5 mg/dl were significantly associated with poor outcome and/or death in the univariate analysis. No patient with leukocytosis >16,000/mm3 died.


Sequelae are very common in pneumococcal meningitis. Poor outcome was associated with pupillary abnormality and a leukocyte count <6,000/mm3 on admission. Leukocytosis was protective against poor outcome.

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