Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Geriatrics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Clinical characteristics and prognosis of acute bacterial meningitis in elderly patients over 65: a hospital-based study

Wei-An Lai1, Shu-Fang Chen23, Nai-Wen Tsai2, Chiung-Chih Chang23, Wen-Neng Chang2, Cheng-Hsien Lu2, Yao-Chung Chuang2, Chun-Chih Chien4 and Chi-Ren Huang2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

2 Department of Neurology, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

3 Department of Biological Science, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

4 Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Geriatrics 2011, 11:91  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-91

Published: 28 December 2011

Abstract

Background

To examine the clinical characteristics of bacterial meningitis in elderly patients.

Methods

261 patients with adult bacterial meningitis (ABM), collected during a study period of 11 years (2000-2010), were included for study. Among them, 87 patients aged ≥ 65 years and were classified as the elderly group. The clinical and laboratory characteristics and prognostic factors were analyzed, and a clinical comparison with those of non-elderly ABM patients was also made.

Results

The 87 elderly ABM patients were composed of 53 males and 34 females, aged 65-87 years old (median = 71 years). Diabetes mellitus (DM) was the most common underlying condition (34%), followed by end stage renal disease (7%), alcoholism (4%) and malignancies (4%). Fever was the most common clinical manifestation (86%), followed by altered consciousness (62%), leukocytosis (53%), hydrocephalus (38%), seizure (30%), bacteremia (21%) and shock (11%). Thirty-nine of these 87 elderly ABM patients had spontaneous infection, while the other 48 had post-neurosurgical infection. Forty-four patients contracted ABM in a community-acquired state, while the other 43, a nosocomial state. The therapeutic results of the 87 elderly ABM patients were that 34 patients expired and 53 patients survived. The comparative results of the clinical and laboratory characteristics between the elderly and non-elderly ABM patients showed that only peripheral blood leukocytosis was significant. Presence of shock and seizure were significant prognostic factors of elderly ABM patients.

Conclusions

Elderly ABM patients accounted for 34.8% of the overall ABM cases, and this relatively high incidence rate may signify the future burden of ABM in the elderly population in Taiwan. The relative frequency of implicated pathogens of elderly ABM is similar to that of non-elderly ABM. Compared with non-elderly patients, the elderly ABM patients have a significantly lower incidence of peripheral blood leukocytosis. The mortality rate of elderly ABM remains high, and the presence of shock and seizures are important prognostic factors.