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J Infect. 2006 May;52(5):315-9. Epub 2005 Oct 4.

Lumbar puncture in the management of adults with suspected bacterial meningitis--a survey of practice.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Assess the use of lumbar puncture (LP) in the management of suspected community acquired bacterial meningitis in adults.

METHODS:

A questionnaire was sent to secondary care clinicians (excluding junior house officers) in general internal and emergency medicine at three acute NHS healthcare trusts in the south west of England. The questionnaire recorded the experience of the clinician and asked questions related to case scenarios representing common presentations of bacterial meningitis or meningococcal disease.

RESULTS:

The response rate was 42% (108/260). Nearly all of the respondents (91%) reported regularly managing patients with suspected meningitis. Most respondents considered that (i) brain computerised tomography (CT) was necessary prior to undertaking LP (78%, 60/77), (ii) LP was a useful first line investigation in a patient with meningococcal shock.(80%, 84/105), (iii) LP could be performed safely in a man with a falling level of consciousness if the CT brain was normal (89/106, 84%). Early antibiotic administration was considered important, other management priorities such as oxygen therapy, volume resuscitation, and critical care involvement were not emphasised.

CONCLUSIONS:

Reported clinical practice in the investigation and management of meningitis in adults is not in line with current published guidance. Efforts to target interventions that promote consensus in practice are needed.

PMID:
16209888
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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