Bacterial meningitis in infants: sonographic findings

Radiology. 1985 Mar;154(3):645-50. doi: 10.1148/radiology.154.3.3881791.


A retrospective study was performed on 78 patients (newborn to 2 years old) with clinically proved bacterial meningitis. Sonograms were obtained during the acute illness and medical records were reviewed. The spectrum of sonographic features of meningitis included normal scans (30 patients), ventriculomegaly (11 patients), echogenic sulci (31 patients), extra-axial fluid collections (26 patients), abnormal parenchymal echogenicity (9 patients), evidence of ventriculitis (5 patients), and brain abscess (1 patient). In 46 patients, correlation between the sonographic findings and neurologic outcome on clinical follow-up (6 months to 4 years) was made. Findings of abnormal parenchymal echogenicity and/or moderate-to-marked ventriculomegaly were associated with significant neurologic sequelae; however, echogenic sulci and small extra-axial fluid collections did not appear to have any prognostic significance. Twenty-nine of the 78 patients had sonography without clinical indication of complications of meningitis, and in no patient was a significant abnormality found. Our study suggests that sonography is indicated only when there is clinical suspicion of complications.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Cerebral Ventricles
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Meningitis / diagnosis*
  • Meningitis, Haemophilus / diagnosis
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / diagnosis
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal / diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography*