Management of brain abscess in children

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Abstract

Aim

Brain abscesses continue to pose a problem in paediatric neurosurgery because the associated morbidity and mortality have remained significant throughout the antibiotic and CT era. The objective of this paper is to report the treatment of 28 children with the diagnosis of brain abscess.

Methods

We report our experience with the surgical management of brain abscesses in 28 paediatric patients between 1981 and 2005. The following parameters were assessed: age, gender, clinical manifestations, physical examination, radiological data, aetiological agent, treatment and clinical evolution of the patients.

Results

Patients' age varied from 2 weeks to 16 years (mean 8.6 years); 17 were male. The most notable predisposing factor was contiguous infection in 11 cases, of which six were chronic otitis media. The abscess was supratentorial in 27 children with only one infratentorial case. In all patients, treatment consisted of a combination of surgical evacuation and antibiotics. In two children, the evacuation of pus was via transfontanelar puncture. Positive abscess cultures were obtained from 15 abscesses, and gram-negative were the main bacteria involved. Nine patients had neurological sequelae (seizure, cognitive impairment and paresis); two deaths occurred.

Conclusions

Brain abscess in children continues to be associated with high rates of neurological impairment and death.

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