Central nervous system infection

Central nervous system (CNS) infections cause significant morbidity and mortality and often require neurosurgical intervention for proper diagnosis and treatment. However, neither the international burden of CNS infection, nor the current capacity of the neurosurgical workforce to treat these diseases is well characterized. The objective of this study was to elucidate the global incidence of surgically relevant CNS infection, highlighting geographic areas for targeted improvement in neurosurgical capacity.METHODSA systematic literature review and meta-analysis were performed to capture studies published between 1990 and 2016. PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched using variations of terms relating to CNS infection and epidemiology (incidence, prevalence, burden, case fatality, etc.). To deliver a geographic breakdown of disease, results were pooled using the random-effects model and stratified by WHO region and national income status for the different CNS infection types.RESULTSThe search yielded 10,906 studies, 154 of which were used in the final qualitative analysis. A meta-analysis was performed to compute disease incidence by using data extracted from 71 of the 154 studies. The remaining 83 studies were excluded from the quantitative analysis because they did not report incidence. A total of 508,078 cases of CNS infections across all studies were included, with a total sample size of 130,681,681 individuals. Mean patient age was 35.8 years (range: newborn to 95 years), and the male/female ratio was 1:1.74. Among the 71 studies with incidence data, 39 were based in high-income countries, 25 in middle-income countries, and 7 in low-income countries. The pooled incidence of studied CNS infections was consistently highest in low-income countries, followed by middle- and then high-income countries. Regarding WHO regions, Africa had the highest pooled incidence of bacterial meningitis (65 cases/100,000 people), neurocysticercosis (650/100,000), and tuberculous spondylodiscitis (55/100,000), whereas Southeast Asia had the highest pooled incidence of intracranial abscess (49/100,000), and Europe had the highest pooled incidence of nontuberculous vertebral spondylodiscitis (5/100,000). Overall, few articles reported data on deaths associated with infection. The limited case fatality data revealed the highest case fatality for tuberculous meningitis/spondylodiscitis (21.1%) and the lowest for neurocysticercosis (5.5%). In all five disease categories, funnel plots assessing for publication bias were asymmetrical and suggested that the results may underestimate the incidence of disease.

A systematic review and meta-analysis approximates the global incidence of neurosurgically relevant infectious diseases. These results underscore the disproportionate burden of CNS infections in the developing world, where there is a tremendous demand to provide training and resources for high-quality neurosurgical care 1).

Postoperative central nervous system infections (PCNSIs) are rare but serious complications after neurosurgery.

The incidence of postoperative central nervous system infection (PCNSI) is higher than 5%-7%.

Successful management of PCNSI requires a combined therapy of surgical debridement and long-term antibiotic treatment.

A retrospective analysis was conducted of the medical records of all 363 neurosurgical cases performed between June 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, at a neurosurgical center in South Asia. Data from all operative neurosurgical cases during the 13-month period were included.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis indicated that 71 of the 363 surgical cases had low CSF glucose or CSF leukocytosis. These 71 cases were categorized as PCNSIs. The PCNSIs with positive CSF cultures (9.86%) all had gram-negative bacteria with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n = 5), Escherichia coli (n = 1), or Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 1). The data suggest a higher rate of death (P = 0.031), a higher rate of Cerebrospinal fluid fistula (P < 0.001), and a higher rate of cranial procedures (P < 0.001) among the infected patients and a higher rate of Cerebrospinal fluid fistula among the patients with culture-positive infections (P = 0.038).

This study summarizes the prevalence, causative organism of PCNSI, and antibiotic usage for all of the neurosurgical cases over a 13-month period in a modernized yet resource-limited neurosurgical center located in South Asia. The results from this study highlight the PCNSI landscape in an area of the world that is often underreported in the neurosurgical literature because of the paucity of clinical neurosurgical research undertaken there. This study shows an increasing prevalence of gram-negative organisms in CSF cultures from PCNSIs, which supports a trend in the recent literature of increasing gram-negative bacillary meningitis 2).

Robertson FC, Lepard JR, Mekary RA, Davis MC, Yunusa I, Gormley WB, Baticulon RE, Mahmud MR, Misra BK, Rattani A, Dewan MC, Park KB. Epidemiology of central nervous system infectious diseases: a meta-analysis and systematic review with implications for neurosurgeons worldwide. J Neurosurg. 2018 Jun 1:1-20. doi: 10.3171/2017.10.JNS17359. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29905514.
Chidambaram S, Nair MN, Krishnan SS, Cai L, Gu W, Vasudevan MC. Postoperative Central Nervous System Infection After Neurosurgery in a Modernized, Resource-Limited Tertiary Neurosurgical Center in South Asia. World Neurosurg. 2015 Dec;84(6):1668-73. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.07.006. Epub 2015 Jul 11. PubMed PMID: 26171888.
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