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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 150  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 117-130

Tuberculous meningitis in children: Clinical management & outcome


Department of Clinical Research, ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr Mohan Natrajan
Department of Clinical Research, ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, No.1, Mayor Sathiyamoorthy Road, Chetpet, Chennai 600 031, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_786_17

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Although the occurrence of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) in children is relatively rare, but it is associated with higher rates of mortality and severe morbidity. The peak incidence of TBM occurs in younger children who are less than five years of age, and most children present with late-stage disease. Confirmation of diagnosis is often difficult, and other infectious causes such as bacterial, viral and fungal causes must be ruled out. Bacteriological confirmation of diagnosis is ideal but is often difficult because of its paucibacillary nature as well as decreased sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tests. Early diagnosis and management of the disease, though difficult, is essential to avoid death or neurologic disability. Hence, a high degree of suspicion and a combined battery of tests including clinical, bacteriological and neuroimaging help in diagnosis of TBM. Children diagnosed with TBM should be managed with antituberculosis therapy (ATT) and steroids. There are studies reporting low concentrations of ATT, especially of rifampicin and ethambutol in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and very young children are at higher risk of low ATT drug concentrations. Further studies are needed to identify appropriate regimens with adequate dosing of ATT for the management of paediatric TBM to improve treatment outcomes. This review describes the clinical presentation, investigations, management and outcome of TBM in children and also discusses various studies conducted among children with TBM.


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