Neurologic Disorders

Neurologic Disorders

Cranial Nerves

Michele Grimason

Arteriovenous Malformation

Valarie D. Eichler


  • Congenital abnormality in the connection between arteries and veins without a developed capillary; resembling a “bag of worms.”

  • Most common cause of hemorrhagic strokes in infants and nontraumatic intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in children.


  • Uncommon; etiology is largely unknown.

  • Present at birth; formed during the 3rd week of gestation.

  • Capillary network fails to develop between the arteries and veins.

  • Occurs in approximately 1% of the pediatric population.

  • 1:100,000 children have arteriovenous malformations (AVMs); most are asymptomatic.

  • Majority of AVMs are supratentorial and within the parenchyma of the brain.

  • Less often, located within the brainstem, thalamus, basal ganglia, and cerebellum.

  • Infrequently, familial.

  • Can be associated with several inherited disorders such as Sturge-Weber syndrome, neurofibromatosis, and von Hippel-Lindau syndrome.

Clinical Presentation

  • Commonly presents between the second and fourth decades of life.

  • Usually in healthy children or adolescents.

    TABLE 6.1 Cranial Nerves






    Conveys impulses related to smell.



    Conveys impulses related to sight.

    Visual acuity.



    Supplies four extraocular muscles: the medial rectus, superior rectus, inferior rectus, and inferior oblique, which adduct, depress, and elevate the eye.

    Supplies the levator palpebrae superioris muscle, which controls eye-lid opening.

    Pupil constriction.



    Controls movement of the superior oblique muscle which intorts the eye.



    Three branches: maxillary, mandibular, and ophthalmic.

    Controls chewing movements.

    Delivers impulses related to touch, pain, and temperature in the facial area.

    Corneal reflex (with CN VII).



    Supplies the lateral rectus muscle that abducts the eye.



    Controls the muscles of facial expression including eye-lid closure.

    Sensation and taste of the anterior two third of the tongue.

    Controls the tear and salivary glands.

    Corneal reflex (with CN V).



    Transmits impulses related to equilibrium and hearing.



    Sensation and taste in the posterior one third of the tongue.

    Controls swallowing.

    Controls the salivary glands.

    Controls viscera in the thorax and abdomen.



    Controls the skeletal muscle movements in the pharynx, larynx, and palate.



    Controls swallowing.

    Controls movement of the head.



    Controls muscles involved in speech and swallowing.

  • Often associated with a high morbidity and mortality.

  • Associated with ICH ˜80% of the time.

  • Signs and symptoms of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) due to associated mass effect.

    • Headache (acute or intermittent).

    • Nausea/vomiting.

    • Seizures.

    • Focal neurologic deficits, depending on location of AVM.

    • Infant presentation is usually with vein of Galen.

      • With or without hydrocephalus.

      • With or without macrocephaly.

    • High output cardiac failure.

    • Audible intracranial bruit.

    • Cardiomegaly.

Diagnostic Evaluation

  • Computed tomography (CT) is the initial diagnostic tool.

    • Presence of hyperdense tubular structures with calcifications surrounding the AVM.

    • If a hemorrhage is present, the primary AVM may be obliterated or compressed by the hematoma.

    • Evaluates for associated hydrocephalus, cerebral edema (with or without mass effect), and signs of herniation.

  • CT angiography.

    • Provides more vascular detail of the AVM.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) (once clinically stable).

    • Identifies the structure of the feeding vessels, nidus, draining veins, hemorrhage, hematomas, and presence of vasospasm.

    FIGURE 6.1 • Cranial Nerves Labeled.

  • Cerebral angiography.

    • Radiologic study of choice or “gold standard.”

    • Identifies the dilated feeding arteries, the nidus, and large draining veins.

    • Definitively reveals the origin or morphology of the AVM.

    • When evaluating a ruptured AVM, the child should be clinically stable and ideally in “cooling off” period to allow for resorption of the hematoma.

    • If performed too early, the hematoma and surrounding edema may block or hide the vasculature (Figure 6.2).


  • Overall goal is complete elimination of the AVM.

  • Presentation with a ruptured AVM is a medical emergency secondary to the likelihood of cerebral edema and increased ICP.

  • Goal is prevention of secondary injury.

  • Emergent treatment is the same as any patient presenting with signs and symptoms of increased ICP.

  • ABCs and controlling increased ICP by positioning, hyperosmolar therapy, mild hyperventilation (Paco2 ˜33-35 mmHg), temperature control, seizure control, sedation/analgesia, and pharmacologic paralysis as needed.

    FIGURE 6.2 • AVM on Cerebral Angiogram. Angiogram demonstrates anteroposterior view of left cerebellar arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Dashed arrow points to AVM nidus.

  • Further tiered therapy includes placement of an external ventricular drain for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) removal and barbiturate coma.

  • In some cases, a decompressive craniectomy may be performed to allow more room for the brain to swell during the acute phase.

  • Surgical excision.

    • Approach depends on the location of the AVM, and usually involves microsurgery and complete obliteration of the AVM.

    • In emergent cases, may be performed to evacuate the hematoma.

    • An angiography or MRA is often performed immediately postoperatively to confirm removal of the AVM.

  • Endovascular embolization (with cerebral angiography).

    • Usually a multistage approach and is an adjunct to surgery.

    • Embolization with beads, coils, and glue to reduce the size of the nidus and overall flow to the AVM.

    • Goal is to decrease the morbidity associated with both the AVM and the surgical procedure.

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife).

    • Used for lesions located deep in the brain parenchyma or when near critical areas such as the basal ganglia, brainstem, or thalamus.

    • A high-dose focused beam of radiation targets the precise area of the AVM while reducing the risk of injury to adjacent tissue.


Cathy Haut


  • The botulinum toxin is a protein that is naturally produced by certain strains of spore-forming Clostridium bacteria.

  • Clostridia are soil-dwelling organisms that occasionally make their way into food products, especially unpasteurized honey.

  • Infants <6 months of age are most often affected.

Clinical Presentation

  • Symptoms include constipation, poor feeding, lethargy, and increasing weakness.

  • Physical examination reveals hypotonia and symmetrical CN palsies.

  • Infants have weak cry, expressionless face, ptosis, and sluggish pupillary responses. Gag, suck, and swallow reflexes are diminished or may be absent.

Diagnostic Evaluation

  • Presence of botulinum toxin in stool sample.


  • Supportive care, monitoring, possibility of intubation, and ventilation.

  • Administration of human botulism immune globulin intravenous (BIG-IV).

    • Obtained only through the California Health Department.

Brain Abscess

Cathy Haut


  • Majority of brain abscesses occur as a result of a suppurative infection in a local area such as sinusitis, mastoiditis, and, occasionally, otitis media.

  • Small percentage (10%) associated with trauma.

  • Associated with spread from a distant source (e.g., congenital heart disease, AVM, pulmonary infection, skin infections, endocarditis, abdominal and pelvic infections).

  • Anaerobic and microaerophilic cocci and gram-negative and gram-positive anaerobic bacilli are the most common isolates, including Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter, and Streptococcus species.

Clinical Presentation

  • Presentation can vary, but may include (in order of occurrence) headache, mental status changes, focal neurologic deficits, fever, seizures, nausea and vomiting, nuchal rigidity, and papilledema.

  • Localized neurologic signs are related to the area of the lesion (e.g., brainstem lesion will present with facial weakness, headache, fever, vomiting, dysphagia, and hemiparesis).

Diagnostic Evaluation

  • Imaging, primarily MRI or CT, of head (Figure 6.3).

  • Laboratory evaluation: complete blood count (CBC) with differential, blood culture, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein (CRP), specific serology.

  • In some cases, evaluation of CSF is warranted.

  • Culture of involved area via surgical aspiration or stereotactic CT.

FIGURE 6.3 • Pediatric Brain Abscess MRI. Brain abscess. A: Axial T2-weighted image showing a hyperintense lesion with hypointense rim and surrounding vasogenic edema in the posterior left frontal lobe. B: Sagittal postcontrast T1-weighted image demonstrating hypointense central portion and rim enhancement of the mass. C: The lesion is very bright on the axial diffusion-weighted image. D: Corresponding apparent diffusion coefficient map revealing the low signal intensity of the mass, consistent with restricted diffusion of water molecules. Surrounding vasogenic edema is hyperintense due to increased diffusion.


  • Antimicrobial therapy with good penetration of the intracranial spaces.

  • Control of increased ICP, if present.

  • Surgical resection, aspiration, or drainage, especially if more than one area is involved.

  • Consultation with a neurosurgeon and infectious disease specialist.

Cerebrovascular Accidents

Michele Grimason


  • Ischemic: A decrease or disruption of blood flow, leading to dysfunction of brain tissue, caused by systemic hypoperfusion, embolism, thrombus, and sinus venous thrombosis.

  • Hemorrhagic: A vessel or aneurysm ruptures and leaks into the surrounding tissue and cells.


  • About 20% of neonatal and approximately 50% of nonneonatal pediatric strokes are arterial ischemic and the remainder are hemorrhagic or secondary to cerebral sinus thrombosis.

  • Most common risk factors for arterial ischemic stroke in children are:

    • Congenital and acquired heart disease.

    • Arteriopathies (e.g., arterial dissection, Moyamoya disease, vasculitis).

    • Sickle cell disease.

    • Hypercoagulable conditions.

Clinical Presentation

  • Ischemic.

    • Neonates: seizures, decreased responsiveness, focal weakness.

    • Children: focal neurologic deficits such as hemiparesis, aphasia, visual disturbances, and headache.

  • Hemorrhagic.

    • May present with signs of increased ICP such as headache and vomiting.

    • Other signs: irritability, seizures, and hemiparesis.

Diagnostic Evaluation

  • National stroke guidelines are available from the American Heart Association.

  • Head CT or MRI with diffusion-weighted imaging to assess for ischemic and hemorrhagic infarct.

  • Initial CT (hours after infarct) could be negative; thus, serial imaging may be necessary.

  • Consider CT angiography or MRA if concern for dissection; consider CT venography or magnetic resonance venography if concerned for venous thrombosis (Figure 6.4).


  • Supportive care.

    • Prevention of fever.

    • Maintenance of normoglycemia.

    • Normovolemia to maintenance of adequate substrate delivery.

  • Ischemic strokes.

    • Heparin (unfractionated or low molecular weight) may be administered for as long as 1 week.

    • Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) 3 to 5 mg/kg has been used for ischemic stroke prophylaxis.

  • Hemorrhagic stroke.

    • Neurosurgical evaluation for ICP monitoring.


Keshava Gowda

Tageldin M. Ahmed


  • A state of acute brain dysfunction.

  • Studies have indicated that children who have prolonged ICU stays are more vulnerable to developing delirium.

  • Other associated factors include neurologic disorders, including acute brain injury, medications, infection, autoimmune disorders, and multiorgan system failure.

  • Postanesthetic emergence delirium is considered another type of delirium, often associated with anxiety in the preoperative period.

  • Iatrogenic risk factors include sleep deprivation, restraint use, tubes, catheters, pain, and use of psychoactive medications.

  • May occur in as many as 30% of critically ill infants and children.


  • Hyperactive delirium, often referred as ICU psychosis, manifests as agitated behavior, restlessness, or inattention.

    • Risk increases with duration of length of mechanical ventilation and hospitalization.

  • Hypoactive delirium manifests as withdrawal, flat affect, apathy, and lethargy.

  • Mixed delirium is a combination of above types.

  • Long-term outcomes remain uncertain.


  • Sleep-wake disturbances, disorientation, inattention, purposeless actions, labile mood or affect, inconsolability, autonomic dysregulation.

  • Variation between pediatric and adult presentation emphasizes the benefit to employing a pediatric screening tool.

Diagnostic Evaluation

  • Requires complete physical examination including a neurologic evaluation and mental status assessment.

  • Evaluate for other causes of brain dysfunction (e.g., hypoxemia, new infection, deliriogenic medications, metabolic derangements, pain).

    FIGURE 6.5 • pCAM Pediatric Confusion Assessment. (Copyright © 2008 Heidi A.B. Smith M.D. and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. All rights reserved.)

  • Use of screening tools including pediatric Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit (pCAM-ICU) or Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale will assist in identifying patients with delirium in PICU (Figure 6.5).

  • pCAM-ICU screening tool.

    • Rapid; <2 minutes to complete screening.

    • Specificity 99%; sensitivity 83% in diagnosing delirium in children >5 years of age.

    • Screens for the most fundamental signs of delirium first.

    • Delirium is not present if the child does not display any acute change or fluctuation in mental status or inattention.

  • Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale screening tool.

    • Tool to assist in the evaluation of level of consciousness (LOC).

    • Scale from unarousable (-5) to combative (+4).

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) can be utilized for assistance with diagnosis indicating slowing or disorganization.

    • Limitations in evaluation include developmental and cognitive changes in childhood.


  • Recognition of the importance of routine delirium evaluation by the interprofessional team.

  • Implementation of screening tool (e.g., pCAM-ICU).

  • Very little research is available to support therapy.

  • Combination of psychosocial and pharmacologic therapies, along with removing or minimizing causative factors, is the best management.

  • Minimize known risk factors such as sleep disruption, noise, and environmental disturbances.

  • Maintain continuity of care.

  • Provide calm, soothing, reassuring environment (e.g., limit extraneous sounds, encourage familiar music/pictures/personal items in child’s room).

  • Establish day/night routine (as allowed by clinical status) and periods for uninterrupted sleep.

  • Encourage family to be present with the child.

  • Avoid trigger medications including benzodiazepines.

  • Pharmacologic management with haloperidol, droperidol, and risperidone.

  • Involve child life therapists/hospital teachers.


Michele Grimason


  • The brain requires adequate perfusion, acid-base balance, normothermia, as well as a delicate balance of substrates, neurotransmitters, water, and electrolytes, to function correctly.

  • Derangement in this milieu can cause disruption of neurotransmitter signals, disturbances of electrical impulses within the brain, and injury to brain cells.


  • Acute toxic/metabolic encephalopathy.

    • Global cerebral dysfunction resulting in altered consciousness, behavior changes, and/or seizures.

    • Excludes primary structural brain disease, infection, and traumatic brain injury.

    • Etiologies include electrolyte imbalance, medication, environment, organ dysfunction, and inborn errors of metabolism.

  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

    • Occurs after an event such as cardiac arrest.

    • Deprives the brain of adequate perfusion or oxygenation, resulting in cerebral ischemia, hypoxia, and cell death.

  • Other acute encephalopathies.

    • Infectious.

    • Postinfectious.

    • Vascular disorders.

  • Static encephalopathy.

    • Cerebral dysfunction that is permanent and nonprogressive.

    • Etiologies include prematurity, infection, and ischemia.

  • Progressive encephalopathies.

    • Most commonly associated with neurodegenerative disorders.

    • May also be associated with autoimmune disorders (e.g., Hashimoto thyroiditis, NMDA receptor antibody encephalitis).

    • These disorders present with progressive deterioration of neurologic dysfunction, sometimes in a previously healthy child, and are the result of specific biochemical or genetic abnormalities, infections, or other unknown causes.

Clinical Presentation

  • Mental status changes.

    • Infant: irritability, lethargy, poor feeding.

    • Child: personality or behavioral changes, cognitive decline, concentration problems.

  • Other symptoms: seizures, nystagmus, tremor, myoclonus, abnormal movements.

Diagnostic Evaluation

  • Since multiple mechanisms (toxins, infection, electrolyte abnormality, cerebral ischemia, or medications) may produce encephalopathy, the diagnostic approach may be broad and is adjusted according to each patient’s specific risk factors.

  • Laboratory.

    • General: CBC with differential, comprehensive metabolic panel, liver function test, ammonia, coagulation panel, blood gas analysis.

    • Infectious: blood, urine, and CSF cultures.

    • Metabolic: serum amino acids, urine organic acids, lactate, thyroid function tests.

    • Toxic: toxicology screen, medication drug levels, lead level.

    • Inflammatory: CSF for oligoclonal bands; serum for antibodies (thyroid, NMDA).

  • CT or MRI.

  • EEG to identify seizures and background organization.

  • Medications should be reviewed to assess if they are contributing to encephalopathy.


  • Electrolyte imbalances should be corrected.

  • Antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral agents, if indicated, should be initiated promptly.

  • Antiepileptics should be administered to treat seizures.

  • Steroids should be considered with a postinfectious or autoimmune encephalopathy.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome/Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy

Kelly K. Marcoux


  • Both axonal and demyelinating forms have been described.


  • Specific cause unknown.

  • Autoimmune disease triggered by infectious process (particularly viral) as well as immunizations; often preceded by a viral illness or upper respiratory tract infection (URI).

Clinical Presentation

  • Progressive extremity weakness, may progress to paralysis, usually ascending; begins distally and progresses to proximal muscles (respiratory, trunk, cranial muscles), maximum weakness usually occurs 1 to 2 weeks after onset of symptoms.

  • Areflexia.

  • Numbness.

  • CN palsies.

  • Hypoventilation due to weak respiratory muscles.

  • With or without altered LOC.

  • With or without ataxia.

  • Autonomic instability can occur, including wide fluctuations in blood pressure (BP), diaphoresis, vasoconstriction, pupil dilation and constriction, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Diagnostic Evaluation

  • Lumbar puncture (diagnostic): CSF demonstrates elevated protein (>45 mg/dL) and absence of pleocytosis.

  • Electromyogram (EMG): diffuse demyelination and delayed motor conduction consistent with lower motor neuron disease.


  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).

    • IVIG may work via several mechanisms, including blocking macrophage receptors, inhibiting antibody production, inhibiting complement binding, and neutralizing pathologic antibodies.

  • Plasmapheresis.

    • Removal of circulating humoral factors (e.g., immunoglobulins and antibodies) responsible for demyelination.

  • Supportive care (e.g., airway protection, skin care, physical therapy).

    • Assess functional vital capacity, negative inspiratory force serially (assists in determining trajectory and need for mechanical ventilation).

    • Evaluate BP for autonomic dysfunction.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Kelly K. Marcoux


  • There are many types of encephalopathy which encompass disorders with acute global brain dysfunction resulting in altered mental status.

  • Primary processes leading to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy are brain hypoxia and ischemia due to hypoxemia, reduced cerebral blood flow, or both.


  • Associated with trauma, asphyxiation, congenital abnormality, stroke, medications, and prematurity.

  • In older children, can also result from submersion injury, chronic hypoxia from pulmonary disease, respiratory or circulatory arrest, systemic hemorrhage, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Clinical Presentation

  • History:

    • Infants: irritability, poor feeding, change in mental status.

    • Older children: change in mental status, personality or cognitive changes, such as inability to concentrate.

  • Examination:

    • Abnormal reflexes.

    • Disorientation.

    • Depressed mental status.

    • Abnormal pupillary response.

    • Abnormal motor response (e.g., tremors, asymmetry, hypotonia, hemiparesis, posturing).

    • Abnormal heart rhythm or perfusion.

    • May have apnea.

Diagnostic Evaluation

  • Laboratory evaluation:

    • CBC with differential; comprehensive chemistry, liver function tests with bilirubin, ammonia; coagulation studies; blood gas analysis; toxicology screen; blood, urine, and CSF cultures with viral polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

    • Consider serum amino acids and urine organic acid panels if inborn error of metabolism suspected.

    • If endocrine disorder suspected, consider thyroid function tests and cortisol levels.

  • Radiologic evaluation.

    • CT brain: initial diagnostic study to evaluate acute hemorrhage, calcifications, mass lesion, cerebral edema.

    • MRI/MRA brain: to identify vascular or hemorrhagic disease.

    • EEG: to evaluate seizure activity, particularly subclinical seizures.


  • Supportive care aimed at restoration of adequate oxygenation and ventilation; prevention of secondary injury and increased ICP.

  • ABCs; consider endotracheal intubation for airway protection.

  • Monitor for increased ICP.

  • Correct glucose and electrolyte imbalances; avoid hypo- and hyperosmolar states.

  • Hypothermia therapy (e.g., cool cap in neonates).

  • Appropriate antibiotic, antiviral, and/or antifungal agents; if indicated, prompt administration.

  • Antiepileptic agents to control seizure activity.

  • Specialty consultation: neurology, critical care, neurosurgery, cardiology, nephrology, endocrinology, rheumatology, pulmonology, genetics, and rehabilitation medicine.

Intracranial Hypertension

Cathy Haut


  • Three main components inside the skull: brain (80%), CSF (10%), and blood (10%).

    • After birth, the skull becomes relatively inflexible, leaving a fixed space in the skull.

  • An increase in any of the three components in the skull requires a decrease in another component (e.g., Monro-Kellie doctrine).

  • ICP limits due to fixed space.

  • The normal range for ICP varies with age, and the values for children are not well established.

  • Typically, accepted normal values are <20-25 cm H2O in older children and <15-20 mmHg in children <1 year of age.

  • ICP can be subatmospheric in newborns, especially in the presence of open fontanels.

  • ICP generally peaks 24 to 72 hours after a traumatic injury.

  • Cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) = Mean arterial pressure (MAP) – ICP.

    • Goals: infant >40 mmHg, children >50 mmHg, and adolescents >60 mmHg.

    • Net pressure gradient supplying blood flow to the brain depends on MAP and ICP.

    • MAP is equal to one third systolic BP and two third diastolic BP. Therefore, CPP can be decreased from an increase in ICP, decrease in systemic BP, or a combination of both.

      TABLE 6.2 Causes of Increased Intracranial Pressure

      Intracranial (Primary)

      Extracranial (Secondary)


      • Brain tumor.

      • Trauma (epidural and subdural hematoma, cerebral contusions).

      • Nontraumatic intracerebral hemorrhage.

      • Ischemic stroke.

      • Hydrocephalus.

      • Idiopathic or benign intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri).

      • Other (e.g., pseudotumor cerebri, pneumoencephalus, abscesses, cysts).

      • Airway obstruction or hypoventilation (hypoxia and hypercarbia).

      • Hypertension or hypotension.

      • Posture (head rotation).

      • Hyperpyrexia.

      • Seizures.

      • Drug and metabolic (e.g., tetracycline, lead intoxication).

      • Others (e.g., high-altitude cerebral edema, hepatic failure).

      • Mass lesion (hematoma).

      • Edema.

      • Increased cerebral blood volume (vasodilation).

      • Disturbances of CSF.

    • Low CPP has been associated with poor outcomes in trauma literature.

    • ICP can change easily based on many factors, including intracranial, extracranial, and postoperative situations.

  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension, also known as pseudotumor cerebri, causes increased ICP without evidence of space-occupying lesion or vascular abnormality.


Clinical Presentation

  • Traumatic brain injury is the most common problem leading to increased ICP.

  • Symptoms of increased ICP include loss of consciousness or altered LOC, vomiting, increased head circumference (especially infant) and tense fontanel, seizures or status epilepticus, coma.

  • Cushing triad is an indication of increased ICP with irregular respirations, widening pulse pressure, and bradycardia, indicating impending herniation. These signs indicate a medical emergency.


  • Insert ICP monitoring device, either external ventriculostomy device or parenchymal catheter.

  • Maintain adequate CPP.

    • Infants >40 mmHg.

    • Children >50 mmHg.

    • Adolescents >60 mmHg.

    • Elevations in ICP typically peak 24 to 72 hours following injury.

  • Monitor ICP; if increased, control extrinsic factors, and/or drain CSF (if ventriculostomy drain present).

  • Medical management should include sedation, drainage of CSF, and osmotic diuresis with either mannitol or hypertonic saline.

  • Position with head of bed elevated and midline.

  • Mild hyperventilation is helpful in decreasing ICP, with goal CO2 30 to 35 mmHg.

  • If evidence of cerebral ischemia and no contraindications, consider hypothermia.

  • For intracranial hypertension refractory to initial medical management, barbiturate coma, hypothermia, or decompressive craniectomy should be considered (Figure 6.7).

Pseudotumor Cerebri: Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Cathy Haut

Clinical Presentation

  • Often presents in obese or overweight adolescent females with persistent headache and visual loss or diplopia.

  • These patients are often referred from primary care providers who have evaluated papilledema as an accompanying physical feature.


  • Medications for the management of headache symptoms and acetazolamide (Diamox).

  • Draining CSF with repeated lumbar punctures, surgery.

  • Identify/Address any secondary cause.

  • Main goal of treatment is to prevent or reverse visual loss.

Bacterial Meningitis

Denise C. Schiel


  • Inflammation of the membranes lining the brain and spinal cord.

  • Infectious etiologies include acute bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic.

  • Usually purulent and involves the fluid in the subarachnoid space.

  • Most common acute central nervous system (CNS) infection.

  • More than two third of cases involve children <15 years of age.

  • Peak incidence in 3 to 12 months of age, with decreasing incidence after age 2 years.

  • Peak season is late fall and early winter.

Risk Factors

  • Males > females.

  • Urban areas, crowded living conditions, poverty.

  • Underlying chronic illness/immunosuppression, asplenia.

Routes of CNS Invasion

  • Causative agent varies with age and route of infection.

  • Hematogenous dissemination.

  • Sinuses, middle ear, mastoid, other pericranial structures.

  • Congenital or acquired defects in the skull or spinal cord (Table 6.3).

Mechanism of CNS Injury

  • Alterations in CBF.

  • Initial hyperemia followed by a reduction of CBF with progressive infection/inflammation.

  • Impaired delivery of metabolic substrate (e.g., oxygen and glucose) to the brain tissue with resultant ischemia and infarction.

TABLE 6.3 Age-Associated Pathogens for Meningitis


Common Organisms

<1 mo

Group B streptococcus.

E. coli.

Listeria monocytogenes.

Klebsiella species.

1-2 mo

Strep. pneumoniae.

H. influenzae type B.

N. meningitidis.

Group B streptococcus.

E. coli.

2 mo to 5 y

Strep. pneumoniae.

H. influenzae type B.

N. meningitidis.

5 y

N. meningitidis.

Strep. pneumoniae.

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Jan 30, 2021 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on Neurologic Disorders

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