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Indian J Pediatr. 2007 Apr;74(4):369-74.

Predictors of long term neurological outcome in bacterial meningitis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.



To study the long-term neurological and developmental outcome and the clinical and laboratory predictors of sequelae in children with acute bacterial meningitis (ABM).


Detailed clinical and demographic data was retrieved from the medical records of study children. Subsequently they were followed up for a minimum of 12 months after discharge for development, neurological and hearing assessment. All sequelae were identified and divided into minor or major. For analysis data was divided into 2 groups those with sequelae and without sequelae at follow-up. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS version 10.00 and Epi Info version 2000.


61 boys and 19 girls, a mean age of 31.4 +/= 41.9 months at the time of ABM, were included in the study. Of these 62.5% children were infants. Mean age at follow-up was 58.6 +/= 47.2 months. Sequelae were observed in 32 (40%) children (8 (10%) minor and 24 (30%) major). Mean social quotient at follow-up was 92.8 +/= 32.6. Developmentally 22 (37.9%) children were normal and 20 (34.5%) had global delay. Seizures (P=0.015), cranial nerve palsy (P=0.0065), abnormal deep tendon reflexes (P=0.002), Glasgow coma scale score (GCS) < 8 (P = 0.044) at admission, a CSF culture positive for bacteria and abnormal findings on ultrasonography or computed tomography of head at admission had significant association with sequelae at follow-up. All children (7/7) who had infarct on CT scan (P=0.001) and 12 (80%) of 15 patients who had hydrocephalus (OR - 9.0, 95% CI - 2.03-45.6, P=0.001) diagnosed on CT scan developed severe sequelae. On multiple regressions GCS score <8, presence of cranial nerve palsy and abnormal deep tendon reflexes were independent predictors of sequelae.


Neurological and audiological sequelae and global developmental delay may be seen in about one third of survivors of bacterial meningitis. GCS score <8, presence of infarct or cranial nerve palsy, or hydrocephalous on CT/ ultrasound at admission may help in identification of children most likely to need long term follow up and rehabilitation.

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