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Bacterial meningitis in hemodialyzed patients.

BACKGROUND: To analyze the clinical features, causative pathogens and therapeutic outcomes of bacterial meningitis in hemodialyzed patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Two hundred and sixty-seven patients, > or = 16 yrs, were identified with culture-proven bacterial meningitis. In addition, the causative pathogens and therapeutic outcomes between uremic and non-uremic patients with adult bacterial meningitis were analyzed.

RESULTS: Nine uremic patients with bacterial meningitis, accounting for 3% (9/267) of our adult patients with culture-proven bacterial meningitis had fever, disturbed consciousness and seizures. These were the three most common manifestations in our patients. The interval between the onset of symptoms and therapy start was 5-11 days (mean: 9 days). No patients were initially diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, two patients were initially suspected of having infection of unknown origin. In the non-uremic patient group, klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae were the most frequently detected pathogens, while pseudomonas aeruginosa and coagulase-negative Staphylococcus were the most prevalent in the uremic patients group. The overall mortality rates for the non-uremic and uremic patient groups were 33 and 78% respectively.

CONCLUSION: The mortality rate for bacterial meningitis in the uremic patients group remained high. Due to non-specific manifestations and slow evolution, bacterial meningitis was commonly misdiagnosed as uremic encephalopathy. Therefore, effective treatment was usually delayed. To avoid treatment failure, early diagnosis, careful monitoring of clinical condition and appropriate antibiotic choices are necessary.

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