Background: Despite effective antituberculous medications, the mortality and morbidity remain high in children with tuberculous meningitis (TBM). The traditional clinical staging for TBM developed by Lincoln et al in 1960 has been widely used to predict long term neurologic sequelae (NS). In the current era of critical care medicine and corticosteroid therapy, a new scoring system is needed to predict NS more accurately in children with TBM.
Methods: We reviewed all available cases of TBM in San Diego, CA, during 1991-2001 retrospectively, and we developed a novel scoring system to predict NS in children with TBM. We assessed a tuberculous meningitis acute neurologic (TBAN) score at day 0 and on day 3 of hospitalization, to compare children who subsequently developed severe NS with those who did not.
Results: Among 20 children with TBM, 7 children developed severe NS and 1 child died during hospitalization. The TBAN score was higher on day 0 in those with severe NS (5.5 versus 2.0, P = 0.09), and the difference became statistically significant by day 3 of hospitalization (5.5 versus 0.0, P = 0.02). Sensitivity and specificity of the TBAN score (> or =4) on day 0 (75 and 92%) and day 3 (88 and 100%) to predict severe NS were superior to the traditional clinical staging system on day 0 (63 and 58%).
Conclusions: The TBAN score is an objective marker for predicting severe NS in children with TBM.