Cortical visual impairment following bacterial meningitis: magnetic resonance imaging and visual evoked potentials findings in two cases

Eur J Pediatr. 1992 Oct;151(10):779-82. doi: 10.1007/BF01959090.


Cortical visual impairment (CVI) following bacterial meningitis is a very uncommon complication. Two children with CVI following bacterial meningitis are reported. Bacterial agents were Haemophilus influenzae type B in one and meningococci in the other child. Both children showed only insufficient recovery from CVI, mental retardation and residual neurological symptoms. Flash visual evoked potentials (VEP) showed preserved cortical response at onset of CVI. Re-evaluations several months later showed significantly reduced amplitudes, but normal latencies for P100. Thus, flash VEP does not allow prediction of visual outcome. MRI results have not been reported before. MRI at onset of diagnosis showed occipital parenchymal irregularities with enlarged sulci and subarachnoid spaces. Follow up MRI 15 months after onset of CVI in one patient showed marked atrophy of the occipital cortex, hyperintensities of the cortical white matter and no visible optic radiation. The MRI findings indicate hypoxic-ischaemic lesions in the border zone between the distribution of the great cerebral arteries.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Blindness / diagnosis
  • Blindness / etiology*
  • Blindness / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual*
  • Haemophilus Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Haemophilus Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / complications*
  • Meningococcal Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningococcal Infections / complications*
  • Visual Cortex / physiopathology