Objective Rapid identification of meningitis and initiation of rational treatment is critically important. We reviewed whether our management was consistent with recent recommendations, for patients treated August 2015-July 2018.
Methods Patients aged ≥16 coded as having meningitis/meningoencephalitis/specific meningitides (total codes=27) at QEHB over this period (n=497) were identified by informatics and data analysed using electronic records. Specific patient groups were analysed including post-neurosurgical and community-acquired meningitis.
Results 183 patients met the inclusion criteria, for community-acquired meningitis (n=118) or post-neurosurgery (n=65). Within the A&E subgroup (n=92), 80% received neuroimaging pre-LP despite 78% not having contraindication to LP. Median time to LP was 19hours (IQR:11.0–31.0); none performed within 1hour. Antibiotics were administered prior to LP in 72% cases. No neurosurgical patients had meningococcal/pneumococcal serum or CSF PCR sent. Serum PCR was sent in 11% of community-acquired meningitis patients - 23% were positive. CSF PCR was sent in 28% - 22% were positive. None of these cases had positive CSF culture.
Conclusions Despite BIA recommendations, time-to-LP was delayed and culture-independent techniques such as serum/CSF PCR for bacterial pathogens were under-utilised, despite out-performing CSF culture. The emergence of novel culture-independent methods, including targeted point-of-care and unbiased-metagenomic sequencing, are likely to become increasingly relevant.
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