Community-acquired bacterial meningitis in adults: emergency department management protocol

Link to article at PubMed

Smets I, et al. Acta Neurol Belg 2020.


Acute bacterial meningitis (ABM) is a rare but disabling infectious condition that requires a performant multidisciplinary management approach. Between 70 and 90 adult patients are diagnosed with community-acquired ABM in Belgium annually, and reported case fatality rates range from 17 to 40%. The currently available guidelines provide evidence-based guidance on how to manage this disease. However, these guidelines do not translate the evidence to the daily practice at the emergency department in a Belgian healthcare context. We created a taskforce in University Hospitals Leuven consisting of experts with complementary expertise in managing this disease: neurology, neurosurgery, intensive care medicine, microbiology and infectious diseases. The taskforce agreed upon a flowchart containing seven management steps encompassing all relevant phases in emergency ABM management. In addition to the focus on timely and adequate initiation of antimicrobial treatment, the flowchart and protocol also provide guidance on practical hurdles such as how to assess the safety of performing a lumbar puncture and when to refer patients to the intensive care department. This protocol was implemented in University Hospitals Leuven and fosters inter-disciplinary coordination of ABM care.

PMID:32666505 | DOI:10.1007/s13760-020-01428-w

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