A review of the neurological and neurosurgical implications of tuberculosis in children

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2013 Dec;52(12):1135-43. doi: 10.1177/0009922813493833. Epub 2013 Jul 10.


Tuberculous involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) and vertebral column is the most lethal and disabling form of tuberculosis (TB). Several factors contribute to poor outcome, including cerebrovascular involvement with ischemia, hydrocephalus, direct parenchymal injury and formation of abscess and inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, hyponatremia, seizures, and delayed diagnosis. Spinal spondylitis from TB and associated spinal deformity is the leading cause of paraplegia in developing countries. The evidence for supportive treatment of TB infection of the CNS is limited, leading to substantial differences in management protocols. Many of the treatment approaches used in TB infection of the CNS have been extrapolated from treatment of other acute neurological disorders such as bacterial meningitis and traumatic brain injury. We review data from the available literature and highlight questions relating to the neurological and neurosurgical care of children with TB infection of the CNS and vertebral column.

Keywords: children; complications; neurosurgery; tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / therapy
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnosis
  • Hydrocephalus / etiology
  • Hydrocephalus / therapy
  • Hyponatremia / diagnosis
  • Hyponatremia / etiology
  • Hyponatremia / therapy
  • Neurosurgical Procedures*
  • Paraplegia / diagnosis
  • Paraplegia / etiology
  • Paraplegia / therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Meningeal* / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Meningeal* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Meningeal* / surgery
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal* / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal* / surgery