Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

IgG-index predicts neurological morbidity in patients with infectious central nervous system diseases

Peter Lackner*, Elif Guengoer, Ronny Beer, Gregor Broessner, Raimund Helbok, Florian Deisenhammer, Erich Schmutzhard and Bettina Pfausler

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:202  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-202

Published: 9 July 2010



Prognosis assessment of patients with infectious and neoplastic disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) may still pose a challenge. In this retrospective cross-sectional study the prognostic value of basic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) parameters in patients with bacterial meningitis, viral meningoencephalitis and leptomeningeal metastases were evaluated.


White blood cell count, CSF/serum glucose ratio, protein, CSF/serum albumin quotient and Immunoglobulin indices for IgG, IgA and IgM were analyzed in 90 patients with bacterial meningitis, 117 patients with viral meningoencephalitis and 36 patients with leptomeningeal metastases in a total of 480 CSF samples.


In the initial spinal tap, the IgG-index was the only independent predictor for unfavorable outcome (GOS < 5) in patients with infectious CNS diseases but not in patients with leptomeningeal metastases. The sensitivity and specificity of an IgG-index of 0.75 and higher for predicting unfavorable outcome was 40.9% and 80.8% in bacterial meningitis and 40% and 94.8% in viral meningoencephalitis, respectively. No significant associations between CSF parameters and outcome could be observed in follow-up CSF samples.


The present study suggests that in infectious CNS diseases an elevated IgG-Index might be an additional marker for the early identification of patients at risk for neurological morbidity.