Cryptococcosis is a systemic fungal disease and meningitis is the most serious complication. The purpose of this study is to define problems related to its diagnosis and treatment. This is a retrospective analysis of 25 patients admitted from January 1978 to December 1981. All patients had cryptococcal neoformans meningitis proven by culture of cerebrospinal fluid. One patient had a predisposing illness, being on immunosuppressant therapy after a renal transplant 2 years ago. A progressively severe headache of recent onset was the most striking presentation. Fever was frequently absent as a symptom. Cranial nerve palsies were commonly seen. Impairment of consciousness and areflexia signified a poor prognosis as all four patients who died early in the course of treatment were comatose and two of them were areflexic on admission. In newly suspected cases at least 3 separate lumbar punctures are recommended as initial smears or cultures may be negative. Cerebral CT scans were abnormal in 12 patients and those with cerebral oedema or hydrocephalus had a poorer prognosis. Combined amphotericin B and 5-fluorocytosine therapy was the treatment of choice. If there is no relapse 3 years after completion of treatment, patients are considered as cured. Positive smears may remain for years after completion of treatment and retreatment is only indicated if the cultures are positive. Twenty patients are alive today and none of them have relapsed. One patient had vasculitis of both anterior cerebral arteries as a result of cryptococcal meningitis.
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