Multiple pyogenic brain abscesses constituted 11.7% (21 patients) of a series of 179 consecutive patients with brain abscess treated from 1976 to 1984. The commonest cause of these abscesses was congenital cyanotic heart disease (38%), followed by middle ear infection (19%). Two thirds of these patients were in the first two decades of life. The clinical presentation was similar to brain abscesses in general, there being no clinical features suggestive of multiple lesions. In 85% the abscesses were supratentorial. Infratentorial abscesses alone or in association with supratentorial abscesses were invariably otogenic in origin. Aspiration of the largest abscesses supplemented with appropriate antibiotics was the treatment of choice in 16 patients; secondary excision of the largest abscesses was required in six patients. Primary excision was performed in three patients when the abscesses were in close proximity to each other. Two patients were managed with antibiotics alone. The overall mortality was 23.8%.
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