Intracranial suppuration

Nicole Leotta, Ray Chaseling, Glen Duncan, David Isaacs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To evaluate prevalence, age, position, predisposing factors, bacteriology, clinical features and outcomes of children with subdural empyema (SDE) and brain abscess (BA). Design: Retrospective hospital-based study in a tertiary children's hospital. Methods: Clinical data were reviewed on all children classified as having SDE or BA for 10.75 years from 1 January 1992 to 31 August 2003 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Sydney, Australia. Results: Forty-six children with intracranial suppuration were identified: 26 had BA, 16 had SDE and four children had both SDE and BA. Significant differences between SDE and BA were that: sinusitis was a predisposing factor for SDE (P = 0.01), Streptococcus milleri was the main organism isolated in SDE (P = 0.02), periorbital oedema (P = 0.005) and photophobia (P = 0.02) were clinical features specifically associated with SDE, and 75% of multiple abscesses were in females (P = 0.005). The age distribution of SDE was biphasic, with peaks at <2 years and >7 years. Cases of BA peaked at age 9'11 years. Forty-eight per cent of all children were between 9 and 13 years old; 20% were <1 year old. All the children with SDE and BA were aged 1 year or less. Three of the 46 children died, all with BA. Eighteen (39.1%) returned to normal and 25 (54.3%) had neurological complications. Neurological complications were more common in the BA group. Conclusion: The mortality rate of intracranial suppuration is low, but morbidity remains high. A high degree of suspicion is needed to diagnose and treat intracranial infections early.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)508-512
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
    Issue number9-10
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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