Brain Computed Tomography Scan Nessecity before Lumbar Puncture in Meningitis Patients with More than 60 Years Age

Document Type : Research Paper



Introduction: Central Nervous System (CNS) infections especially meningitis is a medical emergency that once suspected should be proved through Lumbar Puncture (LP) and cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) analysis. On the other hand due to life – threatening complications such as brain herniation in the people older than 60, the procedure safety is debated. This study was done in order to determine the necessity of the Lumbar Puncture (LP) in the patients older than 60 years old who are suspected to meningitis.
Material and Methodes: This descriptive study was done in Infectious Clinic of Imam Reza Hospital, Mashad, Iran from fall 2003 to fall 2005. 90 patients who were suspected to meningitis and undergone brain CT scanning and LP were studied. The results of patient's history, physical examination, demographic information, CT scanning and LP all collected in a questionnaire and analyzed by spss and statistics examinations.
Results: Among 90 patients suspected of meningitis who underwent Brain CT-scan and LP, 81 suffered from loss of consciousness, 2 were chronic course and 7 without clinical LP contraindication other than age. 75 had normal CT-scan and 15 had abnormal CT-scan, amongwhich was no space occupying lesion with mass effect or midline shift. Final diagnosis was acute bacterial meningitis in 14 cases and aseptic meningitis in 7 cases and other causes of meningitis in 7 cases, Encephalitis in 1, and 61 cases other CNS infection.
Conclusion: Despite other clinical contraindications for LP in most of the patients, in 75 cases
(83 %) brain CT-scan was normal and in only 15 cases (17%) there was abnormal CT-scan amongwhich none was a contraindication for LP (i.e space occupying lesion with mass effect or midline shift). Therefore the role of «age over sixty» as an absolute indication for Brain CT-scan, regarding the existing medical facilities and conditions in our country, did not seem acceptable.


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