Management dilemmas in Nocardia brain infection

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2021 Sep 7. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000782. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Purpose of review: Brain nocardiosis is a rare but severe infection mostly occurring among immunocompromised patients. In this review, we present recent data on this infection and address some of the common clinical dilemmas encountered in patients with brain nocardiosis.

Recent findings: Strategies used to approach a patient with suspected brain nocardiosis include the 'conservative strategy' (without early neurosurgery) and the 'neurosurgical strategy' (with early aspiration or excision of brain abscess[es]). The advantages and disadvantages of both strategies are summarised. Our opinion is that the use of the 'conservative strategy' should be limited to well-selected patients presenting with an easily accessible extra-neurological lesion(s) and have brain abscesses at low risk of treatment failure. In terms of antimicrobial therapy, we summarise the data supporting the use of a multidrug regimen in patients with brain nocardiosis.Last, we list possible reasons for treatment failure in patients with brain nocardiosis and suggest interventions to overcome them.

Summary: Literature is scarce regarding brain nocardiosis, as a consequence of the rarity of this disease. A multidisciplinary and individualised management is required to optimise the outcome of patients with brain nocardiosis.