Staphylococcus aureus meningitis: a broad-based epidemiologic study

L S Schlesinger, S C Ross, D R Schaberg
Medicine (Baltimore) 1987, 66 (2): 148-56
In an effort to ascertain important epidemiologic and prognostic risk factors, we analyzed 33 cases of Staphylococcus aureus meningitis occurring over an 8-year period (1976 to 1984). Staphylococcus aureus caused 6% of all bacterial meningitis at our University Hospital. Fifty percent of cases were pediatric and included 7 newborn infants, of whom 71% were either premature or had low birth weight. Major underlying diseases were: central nervous system (CNS) disorders (55%), endocarditis (21%, predominantly intravenous drug abusers), other sites of infection (27%), and prematurity (24%). Fifty-seven percent of patients were bacteremic and 41% of those had concomitant bacteriuria. Hypoglycorrhachia was present in 27% of cases, positive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Gram stain in 20%, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in 19%, and methicillin-resistant organisms in 18%. Cerebrospinal fluid cultures remained positive for a protracted period (mean, 6.7 days) regardless of the presence or absence of a CNS shunt. Overall mortality was 21%. Favorable outcomes were associated with the eventual presence of sterile CSF (15.4% vs. 100% mortality) and the removal of foreign bodies (10% vs. 67% mortality). Mortality was also associated (p less than 0.5) with the presence of diabetes mellitus, age greater than 60, obtundation or coma on presentation, bacteremia, or DIC. Cure correlated (p less than .05) with CNS shunt-associated infections, age less than 1, normal neurologic examinations on presentation, or the absence of DIC or bacteremia.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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