IV treatment may lower risk of dying from bacterial meningitis

September 29, 2010

ST. PAUL, Minn. - New research shows that an intravenous (IV) treatment may cut a person's risk of dying from bacterial meningitis. The research is published in the September 29, 2010, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The treatment is called dexamethasone.

"Using this treatment in people infected with meningitis has been under debate because in a few large studies it was shown to be ineffective," said study author Diederik van de Beek, MD, PhD, with the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Our results provide valuable evidence suggesting that dexamethasone is effective in adult cases of bacterial meningitis and should continue to be used."

Bacterial meningitis is a condition that causes membranes in the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed. The disease can be deadly, or result in hearing loss, brain damage and learning disabilities. Pneumococcal meningitis is the most common and severe form of bacterial meningitis. It is estimated that about 25 to 30 percent of people die from the disease.

For the study, researchers evaluated 357 Dutch people age 16 or older with pneumococcal meningitis between 2006 and 2009. Of those, 84 percent were given dexamethasone through an IV with or before the first dose of antibiotics. The results were compared to an earlier study of 352 people treated for bacterial meningitis in 1998-2002, before Netherlands guidelines recommended using dexamethasone. In that study, only three percent of the people were given dexamethasone.

In both studies, participants were assessed on a rating scale of one to five. A score of one was given for death, two for coma, three for severe disability, four for moderate disability and five for mild or no disability. In the later study, 39 percent had an "unfavorable outcome," or a score of four or lower on the scale, compared to 50 percent in the earlier study group.

The study found that the rate of death for those who were given dexamethasone was 10 percent lower than in those in early study group. The rates of hearing loss were also nearly 10 percent lower for those in the later study group.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis are neck stiffness, fever and an altered mental state. These are also symptoms of viral meningitis, which is more common, much less serious and was not the focus of this study. Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency and is diagnosed by culturing bacteria from the spinal fluid or by observing changes in the spinal fluid which indicate the presence of bacteria. Bacterial meningitis must always be treated with antibiotics in addition to medications like dexamethasone, which is a medication of the glucocorticosteroid class of drugs and may be used for bacterial meningitis.
-end-
The study was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development and the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 22,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, restless legs syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, narcolepsy, and stroke.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com.

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/AANChannel
TEXT: http://www.aan.com/press
TWEETS: http://www.twitter.com/AANPublic

American Academy of Neurology

Related Hearing Loss Articles from Brightsurf:

Proof-of-concept for a new ultra-low-cost hearing aid for age-related hearing loss
A new ultra-affordable and accessible hearing aid made from open-source electronics could soon be available worldwide, according to a study published September 23, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Soham Sinha from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia, US, and colleagues.

Ultra-low-cost hearing aid could address age-related hearing loss worldwide
Using a device that could be built with a dollar's worth of open-source parts and a 3D-printed case, researchers want to help the hundreds of millions of older people worldwide who can't afford existing hearing aids to address their age-related hearing loss.

Understanding the link between hearing loss and dementia
Scientists have developed a new theory as to how hearing loss may cause dementia and believe that tackling this sensory impairment early may help to prevent the disease.

Study uncovers hair cell loss as underlying cause of age-related hearing loss
In a study of human ear tissues, scientists have demonstrated that age-related hearing loss is mainly caused by damage to hair cells.

Hair cell loss causes age-related hearing loss
Age-related hearing loss has more to do with the death of hair cells than the cellular battery powering them wearing out, according to new research in JNeurosci.

How hearing loss in old age affects the brain
If your hearing deteriorates in old age, the risk of dementia and cognitive decline increases.

Examining associations between hearing loss, balance
About 3,800 adults 40 and older in South Korea participating in a national health survey were included in this analysis that examined associations between hearing loss and a test of their ability to retain balance.

Veterinarians: Dogs, too, can experience hearing loss
Just like humans, dogs are sometimes born with impaired hearing or experience hearing loss as a result of disease, inflammation, aging or exposure to noise.

Victorian child hearing-loss databank to go global
A unique databank that profiles children with hearing loss will help researchers globally understand why some children adapt and thrive, while others struggle.

Hearing loss, dementia risk in population of Taiwan
A population-based study using data from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan suggests hearing loss is associated with risk of dementia.

Read More: Hearing Loss News and Hearing Loss Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.