Imaging of meningitis and ventriculitis

Neuroimaging Clin N Am. 2012 Nov;22(4):557-83. doi: 10.1016/j.nic.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 Sep 4.


Central nervous system infections account for 1% of primary hospital admissions and 2% of nosocomial infections and when encountered require prompt diagnosis and initiation of specific treatment. Imaging findings are mostly nonspecific with respect to the causative pathogen. This article describes the anatomy of cranial meninges and extra-axial spaces of the brain. Characteristic findings and recent advances in neuroimaging of meningitis and its complications and ventriculitis are summarized, and certain noninfectious causes of meningitis and meningitis mimics are described.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Abscess / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Ventriculitis / diagnosis*
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cross Infection / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Encephalocele / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted*
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Meninges / pathology
  • Meningitis / diagnosis*
  • Meningitis / etiology
  • Reference Values
  • Spinal Puncture
  • Vasculitis, Central Nervous System / diagnosis