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Clinicoradiological features of tuberculous meningitis in patients over 50 years of age


Background and aim: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is a debilitating form of CNS tuberculosis with a high morbidity and mortality in spite of treatment. The diagnosis is based on clinical, radiological and laboratory features. The classical CT features of basal exudates, hydrocephalus, infarcts and granulomas have been mostly reported in younger individuals. Our aim was to study imaging features of TB meningitis in adults over the age of 50 years.

Materials and methods: Clinical, imaging and laboratory features of 53 adult patients over the age of 50 years (sixth to eighth decades) were studied retrospectively. Diagnosis of TBM was based on clinical and laboratory features.

Results: Imaging features were the conspicuous absence of typical features of TBM (ie, basal meningeal enhancement, hydrocephalus, infarcts/granulomas were seen in only a minority of patients).

Conclusions: CT features of TBM in elderly patients were few, atypical and non-contributory for diagnosis, probably because of age related immune senescence. Strong clinical suspicion and correlation with laboratory findings is necessary for early diagnosis.

  • TBM, tuberculous meningitis

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