Despite the availability of modern antibiotics, pneumococcal meningitis in both children and adults remains a severe disease-one known to frequently cause grave complications and residual disability. Although the appearance of arterial vasospasms in bacterial meningitis systematically has been investigated and reported on for adult patients, such research is lacking when it comes to infants. We report on a 4-week-old infant who, 6 days after onset of pneumococcal meningitis, suffered severe neurological deterioration with treatment-resistant seizures and coma. Generalized cortical and subcortical edema developed in conjunction with diminished cerebral blood flow, as depicted in magnetic resonance angiography and serial Doppler-sonographic examinations. The ischemia resulted in extensive cystic encephalomalacia. We propose that the degree of variation in cerebral blood flow in the acute phase was the result of an extensive arterial vasculopathy involving vasospasms. Awareness of this complication and prospective serial Doppler-sonographic examinations may improve our understanding of the connection between brain edema and vasculopathy. At present, however, no effective treatment appears available.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.