Outcome of fulminant bacterial meningitis in adult patients

R. Muralidharan, F. J. Mateen, A. A. Rabinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: The objective of our study was to identify neurological factors associated with poor outcome in adult patients with fulminant bacterial meningitis. Methods: This was a retrospective review of consecutive adult patients with fulminant bacterial meningitis, defined as meningitis causing coma within 24-48 h of hospitalization, at Mayo Clinic Rochester between January 2000 and November 2010. Functional status was assessed at discharge and upon last follow-up using the modified Rankin scale (mRS). The primary end-point was death or new major disability (increase of >2 on the mRS) at last follow-up. Results: Thirty-nine patients were identified. Encephalopathy (44%), coma (28%), focal seizures (3%) or a combination of these (26%) were present on admission. The most common pathogen was Streptococcus pneumoniae (57%). All patients were treated with broad spectrum antibiotics and 51% received steroids. Serious systemic complications were seen in 23 patients. Sixteen patients (41%) died during hospitalization. Median mRS at hospital discharge for surviving patients was 3; four patients had new major disability with a mean follow-up of 11 months. Predictors of death or new major disability included lower Glasgow Coma Scale score at nadir [P = 0.002; age- and sex-adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.46, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28-0.48], longer duration of symptoms before hospitalization (P = 0.045; adjusted OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.02-5.37), abnormal head imaging at presentation (P = 0.008; adjusted OR 9.40, 95% CI 1.78-49.6) and use of intracranial pressure monitoring (P = 0.010, adjusted OR 51.0, 95% CI 2.51-1036). Conclusion: Many adult patients who survive hospitalization are able to regain their pre-morbid level of function. Aggressive management of bacterial meningitis is justified even in comatose adult patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-453
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Bacteria
  • Coma
  • Immunosuppression
  • Meningitis
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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