Background: The long-term neurologic sequelae of childhood tuberculous meningitis (TBM) mainly result from ischemia owing to cerebral vasculitis. Deep vein thrombosis occurs in adults with pulmonary tuberculosis owing to hypercoaguability. The present study aimed to investigate coagulation status during acute childhood TBM.
Methods: Coagulation status, including the natural anticoagulants, antithrombin, protein C and protein S; procoagulant FVIII; fibrinolytic factors, tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) as well as anticardiolipin antibodies (ACA), was determined in 16 children with TBM before and during treatment.
Results: A prothrombotic profile was found as expressed by a decrease of anticoagulant (protein S) and increase of the procoagulant (factor VIII) activity. Raised PAI-1 and normal tissue plasminogen activator values indicated deficient fibrinolysis. This hypercoagulable state was more pronounced in stage 3 patients than in stage 2 patients. The bleeding time on admission ranged from 1.2 to 10 minutes [mean 4.2 minutes]. The mean platelet count on admission was 577.9 +/- 188.6 x 10/L and increased further during the course of the treatment.
Conclusions: The hypercoagulable state in childhood TBM is comparable to that described in adults with pulmonary tuberculosis and may further increase the risk for infarction. Therapeutic measures that reduce the risk for thrombosis could therefore be potentially beneficial in childhood TBM.