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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27900. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027900. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Long-term mortality in patients with tuberculous meningitis: a Danish nationwide cohort study.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.



With high short-term mortality and substantial excess morbidity among survivors, tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most severe manifestation of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). The objective of this study was to assess the long-term mortality and causes of death in a TBM patient population compared to the background population.


A nationwide cohort study was conducted enrolling patients notified with TBM in Denmark from 1972-2008 and alive one year after TBM diagnosis. Data was extracted from national registries. From the background population we identified a control cohort of individuals matched on gender and date of birth. Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox regression analysis were used to estimate mortality rate ratios (MRR) and analyse causes of death.


A total of 55 TBM patients and 550 individuals from the background population were included in the study. Eighteen patients (32.7%) and 107 population controls (19.5%) died during the observation period. The overall MRR was 1.79 (95%CI: 1.09-2.95) for TBM patients compared to the population control cohort. TBM patients in the age group 31-60 years at time of diagnosis had the highest relative risk of death (MRR 2.68; 95%CI 1.34-5.34). The TBM patients had a higher risk of death due to infectious disease, but not from other causes of death.


Adult TBM patients have an almost two-fold increased long-term mortality and the excess mortality stems from infectious disease related causes of death.

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