Intraventricular rupture of a purulent brain abscess: case report

Neurosurgery. 1995 Jan;36(1):189-93; discussion 193. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199501000-00026.


The mortality of patients with brain abscesses has decreased significantly from 38% in the 1950s to 25% in the 1980s (P = 0.003, Fisher's exact test by decade of report; asymptotic P values based on chi 2 distribution with 3 degrees of freedom, 28 series, 2825 total patients). This decrease in mortality has been attributed to improved diagnostic imaging, the evolution of neurosurgical techniques and understanding of intracranial pressure pathophysiology, greater critical care understanding, and newer antibiotics. However, the mortality associated with the intraventricular rupture of brain abscesses (IVROBA) remained consistently high (at or above 80% once IVROBA was identified) throughout these decades. Although 129 cases (84.5% mortality, 20 survivors) of IVROBA were located in these series and an additional six case reports of survival after IVROBA were found in the literature, treatment advice and detailed clinical description of these surviving cases are sparse or absent. A case of IVROBA with good quality of survival is presented along with the aggressive five-component therapeutic plan used. The five components are: 1) open craniotomy with debridement of abscess cavity, 2) lavage of the ventricular system, 3) 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotics, 4) intraventricular gentamicin twice daily for 6 weeks, and 5) intraventricular drainage for 6 weeks.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Abscess / diagnosis
  • Brain Abscess / mortality
  • Brain Abscess / surgery*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / surgery
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Craniotomy
  • Gentamicins / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Rupture, Spontaneous
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Streptococcal Infections / mortality
  • Streptococcal Infections / surgery*
  • Survival Rate
  • Therapeutic Irrigation
  • Ventriculostomy


  • Gentamicins