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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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The cause of death in bacterial meningitis

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BACKGROUND: Death from bacterial meningitis is rarely attributed to the actual event causing death. The present study therefore categorized and characterized the cause and time of death due to bacterial meningitis.

METHODS: In a cohort of patients > 15 years of age with community acquired bacterial meningitis the medical records were reviewed, and a clinical cause of death categorized into six main categories: 1) CNS complications, 2) Systemic complications, 3) Combination of systemic and CNS complications, 4) Sudden death, 5) Withdrawal of care, or 6) Unknown.

RESULTS: We identified 358 patients of which 84 (23%) died in-hospital. Causes of death were ascribed to CNS complications in 43%, Systemic complications in 39%, Combined CNS and systemic complications in 4%, Sudden death in 7% and withdrawal of care in 5%. Brain herniation, circulatory failure, intractable seizures and other brain injury were the most common specific causes of death within 14 days from admission (55%).

CONCLUSION: Fatal complications due to the primary infection - meningitis - is most common within 14 days of admission. The diversity of complications causing death in meningitis suggest that determining the clinical cause of death is essential to the evaluation of novel treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number182
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Volume20
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)182
ISSN1471-2334
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2020

ID: 59465872