Bacterial Meningitis Has Classic Presentation in Elderly

Community-acquired infection in seniors usually due to S. pneumoniae

THURSDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients with community-acquired Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterial meningitis commonly present with classic symptoms and have a much higher incidence of morbidity and mortality compared to younger adults, according to research in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Martijn Weisfelt, M.D., of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues compared data on 696 episodes of community-acquired bacterial meningitis between 257 patents aged 60 or older and 439 patients between the ages of 17 and 59.

Elderly individuals presented more often with classic fever, stiff neck and altered mental state. Meningitis due to S. pneumoniae caused 176 episodes (68 percent) in seniors. Neisseria meningitides caused 221 cases (50 percent) in younger adults. Older patients developed more complications than did younger adults resulting in higher mortality (34 percent compared to 13 percent), and more often died from cardio-respiratory failure, while younger patients most commonly died from brain herniation.

"Older age remains an independent risk factor for adverse outcome," the authors wrote. "The high complication rate also reflected the severity of bacterial meningitis in elderly patients. Optimal supportive care may be crucial in the treatment of elderly patients with bacterial meningitis."

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

No stories found.