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Suhas Udayakumaran and Ticini Joseph

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of focal suppurative infections (FSIs) of the brain has significantly decreased owing to the better health and fundamental conditions of the population on the one hand and earlier detection and the availability of more potent antibiotics on the other. Interestingly, the antibiotic protocols have not been well defined in terms of duration despite a prompter diagnosis, definitive management of the etiology, and the advent of various higher-generation antibiotics. In this study, the authors evaluated the current treatment protocol. Their aim was to optimize management protocols for FSIs of the central nervous system based on clinical parameters.

METHODS

The study was a retrospective analysis of all children who had undergone surgical management for an FSI at the Division of Paediatric Neurosurgery, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi, Kerala, in the period from January 2001 to February 2018. In addition to demographic characteristics, the details of culture reports and antibiotic regimens were collected. The response to treatment was compared to changes in the infective profile (C-reactive protein) and imaging. Instances of reaspiration were compared with clinical signs, imaging findings, and infective profiles. Treatment response was separated into two groups: responders within or at 2 weeks and responders beyond 2 weeks. The clinical characteristics of these two groups were compared.

RESULTS

Forty-eight children were treated in the study period. Nineteen patients benefited from the 2-week (short-term) protocol of intravenous antibiotics. Twenty-nine patients required more than 2 weeks (approximately 4 weeks; long-term protocol) for resolution. Of those requiring more than 2 weeks, 69% had cardiogenic etiology. All patients were followed up with a minimum of 3 weeks of oral antibiotics. In a comparative analysis between short-term and long-term responders, only etiology was significantly different. None of the patients who had the short-term protocol had a recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS

A shorter antibiotic protocol can be used successfully in carefully selected patients who are surgically treated and followed up. It is clear that the 2-week intravenous antibiotic protocol is more suitable for immunocompetent patients who have a noncardiogenic etiology.