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Brain. 2002 May;125(Pt 5):1084-93.

Seizures and raised intracranial pressure in Vietnamese patients with Japanese encephalitis.

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1
Department of Neurological Science, University of Liverpool, Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Liverpool, UK.

Abstract

Japanese encephalitis (JE) causes at least 10 000 deaths each year. Death is presumed to result from infection, dysfunction and destruction of neurons. There is no antiviral treatment. Seizures and raised intracranial pressure (ICP) are potentially treatable complications, but their importance in the pathophysiology of JE is unknown. Between 1994 and 1997 we prospectively studied patients with suspected CNS infections referred to an infectious disease referral hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We diagnosed Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), using antibody detection, culture of serum and CSF, and immunohistochemistry of autopsy material. We observed patients for seizures and clinical signs of brainstem herniation, measured CSF opening pressures (OP) and, on a subset of patients, performed EEGs. Of 555 patients with suspected CNS infections, 144 (26%) were infected with JEV (134 children and 10 adults). Seventeen (12%) patients died and 33 (23%) had severe sequelae. Of the 40 patients with witnessed seizures, 24 (62%) died or had severe sequelae, compared with 26 (14%) of 104 with no witnessed seizures [odds ratio (OR) 4.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.94-10.52, P < 0.0001]. Patients in status epilepticus (n = 25), including 15 with subtle motor seizures, were more likely to die than those with other seizures (P = 0.003). Patients with seizures were more likely to have an elevated CSF OP (P = 0.033) and to develop brainstem signs compatible with herniation syndromes (P < 0.0001). Of 11 patients with CSF OP > or =25 cm, five (46%) died, compared with seven (9%) of 80 patients with lower pressures [OR 8.69, 95% CI 1.73-45.39, P = 0.005). Of the 50 patients with a poor outcome, 35 (70%) had signs compatible with herniation syndromes (including 19 with signs of rostro-caudal progression), compared with nine (10%) of those with better outcomes (P < 0.0001). Of 11 patients with CSF OP > or =25 cm, five (46%) died, compared with seven (9%) of 80 patients with lower pressures (OR 8.69, 95% CI 1.73-45.39, P = 0.005). The combination of coma, multiple seizures, brainstem signs and illness for 7 or more days was an accurate predictor of outcome, correctly identifying 42 (84%) of 50 patients with a poor outcome and 82 (87%) of 94 with a better outcome. These findings suggest that in JE, seizures and raised ICP may be important causes of death. The outcome may be improved by measures aimed at controlling these secondary complications.

PMID:
11960897
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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