A study on the clinical features and complications of tuberculous meningitis in a tertiary care centre of southern India.
Though India is the second-most populous country in the world one fourth of the global incident tuberculosis (TB) cases occur in India annually. In 2012, out of the estimated global annual incidence of 8.6 million cases, 2.3 million were estimated to have occurred in India.
TB Meningitis is characterized by a slowly progressing granulomatous inflammation of the basal meninges. This inflammatory reaction can lead to a number of complications such as hydrocephalus, cerebral vascular infarction, cranial nerve palsy and if untreated, death.
Rapid diagnosis and initiation of treatment is necessary to reduce high mortality and severe sequelae associated with the disease.
Diagnosis of TB Meningitis can be difficult as the symptoms are unspecific and mimic those of meningitis caused by other microbiological agents or other cerebrovascular events.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This record-based, retrospective, descriptive study was carried out at Sri Chamarajendra District Hospital which is attached to Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan, Karnataka, India. This institute is a referral government hospital in southern Karnataka, India catering to the patients hailing from Hassan, Madikeri and Chikkamagalur districts.
Seventy confirmed cases of TB Meningitis between January 2011 and December 2013 were retrospectively studied. In the study protocol, all confirmed cases of TB Meningitis, above the age of 12 years of both sex and informed consent were included.
The criteria for exclusion were age younger than 12 years, patients with CNS pathologies which can mimic TB Meningitis like Bacterial Meningitis, Viral Encephalitis, Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, Intra-Cranial Bleed, Cerebral Malaria, Stroke or Epilepsy.
Patients' hospital records were evaluated for clinical features, chest radiography, Monteux test, sputum smear for Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB), routine investigations, CSF (Cerebro-Spinal Fluid) studies, CT (Computerized Tomography) scan and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan of the head. On the basis of clinical presentation, patients of TB Meningitis were classified into 3 clinical stages according to the British MRC system.
All patients had been treated with conventional treatment according to the RNTCP (Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme) Guidelines. Steroids were used in all of the patients.
The data on clinical features, laboratory findings and neuro-imaging reports were analyzed by SPSS software ver. 10. Clinical outcome of the patients studied were categorized as Complete Recovery, Recovery with Residual Neurologic Deficits (sequelae) and Death.
RESULTS: Of the 70 cases of TB meningitis studied, 39 (55.75%) were male and 31 (44.3%) were female. The mean age of the study population was 39.27 +/- 7.8 years with a range from 12 to 78 years (Median 37.5 years).
16 patients (22.8%) gave a past history of tuberculosis. 21 patients (30%) reported a contact with tuberculous patient. 26 patients (37.2%) were found to have tuberculous infection affecting other organs at presentation. Of which pulmonary tuberculosis was found to be the most common association (21.43%), other types being disseminated tuberculosis (5.72%), abdominal tuberculosis (4.28%), lymph node tuberculosis (4.28%) and spinal tuberculosis (1.43%). Co-morbid diseases associated with tuberculosis are shown in table/fig 1.
Symptoms and signs at admission are summarized in the table/fig 2. Fever was the most frequent symptom which was experienced by 65 patients (92.8%), followed by altered level of consciousness in 56 (80%) cases and neck stiffness in 54 (77.2%) cases. (Table/fig 2). Objective clinical signs elicited by clinical examination are presented in table/fig 2. The mean GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale) score at presentation was found to be 12.5+/- 2.6.
Chest radiograph revealed pulmonary infiltrates in 8 patients, miliary pattern in 2 patients and pleural effusion in 3 patients and cavity in 2 patients.
CT and MRI neuro-imaging findings are summarized in table/fig. 3. 19 patients (27.15%) developed hydrocephalus, out of which 13 (18.5%) were of the communicating type, while 6 (8.6%) were of the obstructive type. Among these patients of hydrocephalus, Ventriculo-peritoneal shunt had to be placed in 12 cases and the rest were managed conservatively.
Duration of hospital stay ranged from 9 to 50 days with a mean of 20.08 +/- 6 days.
At the end of standard duration of treatment, 38 patients (54.28%) recovered completely without any residual neurologic deficits, whereas, 24 patients (34.30%) recovered with residual neurologic deficits like Hemiplegia, cranial nerve palsy(s), seizures and 8 patients (11.42%) died due to complication(s).
DISCUSSION: Mean age of patients was 39.27 +/- 7.8 years which is similar compared to previous studies. (1) Slight male predominance in this study is comparable to other studies. (2,3)
Most of the patients presented in clinical stage 2 MRC, which is in accordance with most of the other studies. (2,3) Delayed presentation leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Fever was the most frequent subjective symptom present in 65 patients (92.8%), followed by altered level of consciousness in 56 patients (80%) and neck stiffness in 54 (77.2%) cases. Clinical diagnosis of TB meningitis is difficult as the clinical features are non-specific and widely variable, and is often diagnosed when brain damage has already occurred. (4-6)
The clinical triad of meningitis viz. fever (adults-60-95 %; Children-67%), headache (adults-50-80 %; children-25%) and signs of meningismus (adults-40-80 %; children-98%) may NOT be present in all the patients. (5) Altered mental status is a more common presenting feature in children as compared to adults. (6) In the elderly, signs of meningismus may be absent and seizures occurs more commonly. (7) Patients with HIV co-infection may less commonly have fever, headache and meningismus, and they are more likely to present with altered mental status. (8,9)
CSF Pleocytosis with predominant lymphocytosis, increased protein and reduced sugar was found in >92.8%. However, 5 patients were found to have Neutrophilic pleocytosis. AFB smear was found positive in only 3 patients out of the total studied, which correlates well with other similar studies. (2,3) Evidence shows that atypical findings in CSF do not rule out tuberculous meningitis. (1) Acellular CSF has been reported in the elderly and in patients with HIV co-infection. (4,6,10,11)
Bacteriological diagnosis by demonstration of acid-fast bacilli of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Zeihl-Neelson stain (Sensitivity = 25%) and bacterial culture (Sensitivity = 18-83%) is highly specific (100%). (6) Tests to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis specific antibodies and antigen in CSF of patients with TB meningitis are rapid and less expensive. But these techniques are limited by the inability to differentiate acute infection from previous infection and by problems with cross-reactivity, in addition to variable and often poor sensitivity and specificity. (10)
Most common Neuro-imaging finding in this study is meningeal enhancement which is comparable to other studies. (12) A recent study found that MRI is superior to CT in identifying basal meningeal enhancement as well as infarcts. In the same study hydrocephalus was detected equally by MRI and CT scans. (13) In conclusion, MR scans should be considered as the primary choice for Neuro-radiological imaging in the initial diagnostic phase in a high-resource setting.
Cochrane systematic review recommends routine use of corticosteroids in HIV-negative patients with TB meningitis to reduce the incidence of death and disabling neurological deficits among survivors. (14-17) In accordance, all patients in this study were treated with corticosteroids.
This study reveals an overall mortality of 11.42%. The cause of death was hydrocephalus and/or brain damage in all these patients that met with death. Whereas, the mortality as revealed by other studies range from 6.9% to 77% of patients studied in each of them. (7,18,19) (Table 5.). Higher mortality rate in other studies may be due to extensive disease (Stage 3 MCR), poor GCS status, MDR (Multi-Drug Resistant) or XDR (Extensively-Drug Resistant) strains of M. tuberculosis infection and delayed presentations.
At the end of standard duration of treatment, 38 patients (54.28%) had complete recovery without residual neurological deficits; 24 patients (34.2%) recovered with residual neurological deficit(s) including limb weakness, cranial nerve palsy(s) and seizures. Similar observations were made by few previous studies quoted. (12)
HIV co-infection does not alter the neurologic features of tuberculous meningitis but dramatically decreases the survival rate, although the incidence of severe disability in HIV-infected survivors may be equivalent or less than that in HIV-negative patients. (24)
CONCLUSIONS: TB Meningitis is a serious CNS infection associated with significant mortality and high morbidity among the survivors of the disease. Most factors found to correlate with poor outcome can be directly traced to the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis.
The single most important strategy to reduce mortality and morbidity is probably early diagnosis, timely recognition of complications and institution of appropriate and prompt treatment modalities. However still, the most challenging aspect is the certainty of early diagnosis which is further hampered by slow and insensitive diagnostic methods. The other emerging yet dreaded challenge is the treatment of MDR-TB and XDR-TB cases.
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1. Rajashekar H. K.
2. Halesha B. R.
3. Chennaveerappa P. K.
4. Jayashree Nagaral
5. Vivek Patnam Dinakar
PARTICULARS OF CONTRIBUTORS:
1. Associate Professor, Department of General Medicine, Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan, Karnataka. India.
2. Assistant Professor, Department of General Medicine, Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan, Karnataka. India.
3. Associate Professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan, Karnataka. India.
4. Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan, Karnataka. India.
5. Internee, Department of General Medicine, Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan, Karnataka. India.
NAME ADDRESS EMAIL ID OF THE CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Dr. Halesha B. R, Assistant Professor, Department of General Medicine, Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan-573201, Karnataka, India.
Date of Submission: 22/07/2014. Date of Peer Review: 23/07/2014. Date of Acceptance: 04/08/2014. Date of Publishing: 09/08/2014.
Table 1: Demographic Features in TB Meningitis Gender-Distribution of cases Gender No. of cases % of cases Male 39 55.70% Female 31 44.30% Total 70 100% Concurrent HIVfHuman Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection HIV Status No. of cases % of cases HIV Positive 13 18.50% HIV Negative 57 81.50% Pre-Existing Co-Morbid Disease or Clinical Condition Disease No. of cases % of cases Diabetes Mellitus 9 12.85% Alcohol Abuse 8 11.42% Immune-Suppressive therapy 3 4.28% Acute Myeloid Leukemia 1 1.43% Systemic Lupus Eythematosus 1 1.43% Chronic Kidney Disease 3 4.28% Total 25 35.71% Co-existing Extra-Cerebral Tubercular Manifestations Manifestations No. of cases % of cases Pulmonary Tuberculosis 15 21.43% Disseminated Tuberculosis 4 5.72% Abdominal Tuberculosis 3 4.28% Lymph Node Tuberculosis 3 4.28% Spinal Tuberculosis 1 1.43% Total 26 37.20% Table 2: Clinical Features in TB Meningitis Presenting Symptoms in TB Meningitis Symptoms No. of cases Percentage Fever 65 92.80% Neck Stiffness 54 77.20% Headache 46 65.70% Vomiting 28 40.00% Altered level of consciousness 56 80.00% Weight Loss 21 30.00% Focal Weakness 16 22.80% Seizures 11 15.70% Behavioral Changes 12 17.20% Photophobia 3 4.30% Objective Clinical Signs in TB Menin gitis Objective Signs No. of cases Percentage Signs of Meningeal Irritation 63 90.00% Cranial Nerve Paralyses 21 30.00% Papilledema 15 21.40% Hemiplegia/Monoplegia 13 18.70% Choroidal Tuberculosis 3 4.3% MRC (Medical Research Council) Staging of TB Meningitis MRC Stage No. of cases % of cases Stage 1 14 20.00% Stage 2 48 68.50% Stage 3 08 11.50% Total 70 100% Table 3: Laboratory and Neuro-Imaging Features in TB Meningitis CSF (Cerebro-Spinal Fluid) Analysis CSF Analysis Findings No. of Cases Percentage Raised proteins 70 100% Low glucose 57 81.42% Lymphocytic pleocytosis 65 92.80% Neutrophilic pleocytosis 5 15.00% AFB Positivity 3 4.28% Neuro-Imaging Findings in TB Meningitis by CT (Computerized Tomography) Neuro-Imaging Findings CT Detection Rate Percentage Meningeal enhancement 21 40.30% Tuberculoma 4 7.69% Hydrocephalus 12 23.0% Cerebral Infarct 4 7.90% Cerebral Edema 5 27.8% Encephalomyelitis 1 5.5% Nil Pathology 20 38.46% Total 52/70 74.29% Neuro-Imaging Findings in TB Meningitis by MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Neuro-Imaging Findings MRI Detection Rate Percentage Meningeal enhancement 11 61.20% Tuberculoma 6 33.30% Hydrocephalus 6 50.90% Cerebral Infarct 4 21.205 Cerebral Edema 7 38.9% Encephalomyelitis 1 5.50% Nil Pathology 8 44.40% Total 18/70 25.71% Table 4: Outcomes of patients with TB Meningitis Clinical Outcome No. of cases % of cases Complete Recovery 38 54.28% Sequelae (Residual 24 34.30% Neurologic Deficits) Death 8 11.42% Table 5: Comparison of mortality in different studies SI. No Year of Study Author(s) Total No. Mortality of Cases Rate 01. 2014-PRESENT Rajashekar HK 70 11.42% STUDY 02. 2013 Salakeen S (12) 52 21.10% 03. 2012 Iype T (20) 98 27.00% 04 2012 Shaikh MA (21) 50 6.00% 05. 2011 Christensen A H (22) 50 19.00% 06. 2008 Roca B (23) 29 41.00% 07. 2004 Thwaites (15) 274 36.00%
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|Title Annotation:||ORIGINAL ARTICLE|
|Author:||Rajashekar, H.K.; Halesha, B.R.; Chennaveerappa, P.K.; Nagaral, Jayashree; Dinakar, Vivek Patnam|
|Publication:||Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences|
|Date:||Aug 11, 2014|
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