Gram-negative meningitis associated with transsphenoidal surgery: case reports and review

Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Apr;18(4):553-6. doi: 10.1093/clinids/18.4.553.


We present a systematic review of meningitis associated with transsphenoidal surgery. Patients present within the first 4 days after surgery with symptoms of headache, fever, and confusion. Overt cerebrospinal rhinorrhea or nuchal rigidity at the time of presentation is an infrequent finding. Although postoperative aseptic meningitis may be difficult to distinguish from early bacterial meningitis, the findings of hypoglycorrhachia, pleocytosis, and hyperproteinemia in the setting of fever and neurological deficit strongly suggest bacterial infection. The preponderance of cases of gram-negative meningitis observed in this series and in previous reports related to posttraumatic CSF leaks indicates that empirical regimens should include agents suitable for treating infections caused by nosocomial pathogens. In general, patients with uncomplicated meningitis in this setting can be expected to recover and do well. Questions remain as to the role of prophylactic antibiotics in the development of gram-negative meningitis in the setting of transsphenoidal surgery. A multicenter trial might be better able to define this role.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / etiology*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / etiology*
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Sella Turcica / surgery
  • Sphenoid Sinus / surgery*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents