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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Sala F. 1, Abbruzzese C. 1, Galli D. 1, Grimaldi M. 1, Abate M. G. 1, Sganzerla E. P. 2, Citerio G. 1
1 Neuroresuscitation Division, Department of Perioperative Medicine and Intensive Care, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Milan, Italy; 2 Neurosurgery Clinic, Bicocca University of Milan, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Milan, Italy
Childhood meningitis is associated with high mortality and morbidity. In selected cases, the prompt institution of invasive intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring and therapy may improve survival but few studies have evaluated the indications for ICP monitoring in this specific neurological disease. This article examines the case of a five-year-old child who was comatose when admitted to the hospital with unilateral dilated pupil, neck stiffness and fever (T 39 °C). The initial brain computed tomography scan was unremarkable. Dexamethasone and empirical antibiotic therapy for suspected meningitis was started and a lumbar puncture (LP) was performed. The LP opening pressure was 45 mmHg. Cerebrospinal fluid microscopy demonstrated Meningococcal meningitis. The likelihood of raised ICP, associated with third nerve palsy, prompted insertion of an intraparenchymal catheter for ICP monitoring. Intracranial hypertension was treated with medical therapy. ICP was controlled within 72 hours. On day nine, the ICP device was removed. On the same day, the child started to obey commands, was rapidly weaned from mechanical ventilation and was extubated. He was discharged from the Department on day 13 and after two weeks went home with residual dysmetria and mild motor impairment. This study indicates that ICP-targeted treatment in children improves the outcome of severe cases of bacterial meningitis. ICP monitoring could particularly be useful to optimize brain perfusion and provide relief from severe neurological impairment, which is associated with the clinical signs of meningitis and increased ICP levels.