11Scuola di Specializzazione in Pediatria, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena
22UO di Pediatria; 33UO di Terapia Intensiva Neonatale, Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche Materno-Infantili e dell’Adulto, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Policlinico, Modena
Indirizzo per corrispondenza: firstname.lastname@example.org
Key words: Newborn, Infant, Lumbar puncture, Sepsis, Meningitis
Bacterial meningitis may cause long term disabilities or death, particularly at younger ages. Early diagnosis and prompt antibiotic therapy are essential for improving outcome. The diagnosis of meningitis in newborns and young infants is a challenge because symptoms and signs are frequently vague and non-specific, in particular at the onset of the disease. Cerebrospinal fluid culture and analysis remain nowadays the gold standard for diagnosis. Clinicians often defer lumbar puncture because of concerns of complications, although data concerning the risks of lumbar puncture at younger ages are poorly defined. Perhaps a combination of laboratory markers and selected clinical symptoms at the onset of meningitis would identify neonates with higher risk of meningitis who should necessarily undergo lumbar puncture. Currently, clinicians should be aware that the advantage of an early diagnosis of meningitis through lumbar puncture overcomes the risks related to the procedure.
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