Outpatient management of children at low risk for bacterial meningitis

Acaba de ser publicado este articulo de nuestra compañera Silvia García, desarrollado dentro de la red de investigación de la SEUP. Enhorabuena!

Objective To determine the outcome of children aged 2–14 years with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pleocytosis and at very low risk for bacterial meningitis managed as outpatients without antibiotics.

Methods Multicentre, prospective, observational study conducted at nine Spanish paediatric EDs. Patients were diagnosed with meningitis based on clinical suspicion of meningitis and CSF pleocytosis when evaluated in the ED. Children between 2 and 14 years of age with pleocytosis and very low-risk criteria for bacterial meningitis (well appearing, Bacterial Meningitis Score (BMS)=0, procalcitonin (PCT)<0.5 ng/mL and observation without deterioration for less than 24 hours in the ED) were treated as outpatients without antibiotics pending CSF cultures. The primary composite outcome was a final diagnosis of bacterial meningitis or return to the ED for clinical deterioration.

Results Of 182 children between 2 and 14 years old diagnosed with meningitis, 56 met the very low-risk criteria and 45 were managed as outpatients. None was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis or returned due to clinical deterioration. Another 31 patients with BMS=1 (due to a peripheral absolute neutrophil count (ANC)>10 000/mm3) and PCT <0.5 ng/mL were managed as outpatients, diagnosed with aseptic meningitis and did well. BMS using PCT had the same sensitivity but greater specificity than classic BMS.

Conclusions This set of low-risk criteria appears safe for the outpatient management without antibiotics of children with CSF pleocytosis. Larger studies are needed to evaluate the predictive values of replacing peripheral ANC with PCT in the BMS.