Brain abscesses and other infections of the central nervous system Flashcards Preview

Clinical Pathology > Brain abscesses and other infections of the central nervous system > Flashcards

Flashcards in Brain abscesses and other infections of the central nervous system Deck (19):

What are the different types of primary bacterial infections of the CNS?

- Meningitis
- Encephalitis
- Ventriculitis
- Brain Abscess
- Ventriculoperitoneal shunt and external ventricular drain infection
- subdural empyema
- (eye infections)


What is a brain abscess?

A brain abscess is a focal suppurative process within the brain parenchyma (pus in the substance of the brain)


What is the aetiology of brain abscesses?

- Often mixed (polymicrobial) - usually need broad spectrum Abx
- Streptococci (60-70%) e.g. Streptococcus “milleri”
- S. aureus (10-15%) most common after trauma/surgery
- Anaerobes - usually piggyback on other bacteria
- Gram negative enteric bacteria (E.coli, Pseudomonas spp.)
- Others e.g. fungi, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, - Toxoplasma gondii, Nocardia, Actinomyces


What is the pathogenesis of brain abcesses?

- Direct spread from “contiguous” suppurative focus (e.g. from middle ear[40%], sinuses, teeth)

- Haematogenous spread from a distant focus e.g. endocarditis, bronchiectasis (often multiple abscesses)

- Trauma (e.g., open cranial fracture, post-neurosurgery)

- Cryptogenic (no focus ~15-20%).


What is the clinical presentation of brain abcesses?

- Headache (most common)
- Focal neurological deficit (30-50%)
- Confusion
- Fever (


Why is drainage the treatment of choice for brain abscesses?

1. to urgently reduce intracranial pressure
2. to confirm diagnosis
3. to obtain pus for microbiological investigation
4. to enhance efficacy of antibiotics
5. to avoid spread of infection into the ventricles


What Abx treatment is given for brain abscesses and why?

- Physiological properties of blood-brain barrier and blood CSF-barrier are distinct

- Penetration of drugs into CSF and brain tissue differ

- Ampicillin, penicillin, cefuroxime, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, and metronidazole achieve therapeutic concentrations in intracranial pus


What is the treatment regimen for a sinugenic/odontogenic abscess?

iv cefotaxime 2g 6-hourly +
iv metronidazole 500mg 8-hourly


What is the treatment regimen for an otogenic abscess?

iv benzyl penicillin 2.4g 6-hourly +
iv ceftazidime 2g 8-hourly +
iv metronidazole 500mg 8-hourly


What are the complications of brain abscesses?

- Raised intracranial pressure, mass effect, coning
- Rupture (usually into ventricles) causing ventriculitis


What is subdural empyema?

Infection between dura and arachnoid mater.


What is the aetiology of subdural empyema?

(often polymicrobial) anaerobes, streptococci, aerobic Gram negative bacilli, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus


What is the pathogenesis of subdural empyema?

- spread of infection from sinuses (50-80%)
- middle ear and mastoid (10-20%)
distant site (5%, haematogenous)
- following surgery or trauma


Which of the 3rd generation cephalosporins is one of the few antibiotics active against P. aeruginosa? (common cause of ear infections)



What is the clinical presentation of subdural empyema?

Headache fever, focal neurological deficit, confusion, seizure, coma


What is the treatment for subdural empyema?

Urgent surgical drainage of pus, antimicrobial agents


What is the aetiology of ventriculitis?

EVDs and VP shunts can become colonised with organisms that subsequently cause ventriculitis


What is the most common cause of ventriculitis due to EVD/VP colonisation?

Coagulase-negative staphylococci


What is the treatment for ventriculitis?

Device removal, intraventricular antibiotics

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