Send to

Choose Destination
Neurocrit Care. 2017 Sep;27(Suppl 1):124-133. doi: 10.1007/s12028-017-0455-y.

Emergency Neurologic Life Support: Meningitis and Encephalitis.

Author information

Department of Emergency Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Critical Care, Boone Hospital Center, BJC Health Care, Columbia, MO, USA.


Bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis, particularly herpes simplex encephalitis, are severe neurological infections that, if not treated promptly and effectively, lead to poor neurological outcome or death. Because of the value of early recognition and treatment, meningitis and encephalitis was chosen as an Emergency Neurological Life Support protocol. This protocol provides a practical approach to recognition and urgent treatment of bacterial meningitis and encephalitis. Appropriate imaging, spinal fluid analysis, and early empiric treatment are discussed. Though uncommon in its full form, the typical clinical triad of headache, fever, and neck stiffness should alert the clinical practitioner to the possibility of a central nervous system infection. Early attention to the airway and maintaining normotension are crucial steps in the treatment of these patients, as is rapid treatment with anti-infectives and, in some cases, corticosteroids.


Emergency neurologic life support; Encephalitis; Meningitis; Neurocritical care

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center