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Publication Detail
Clinical management of community-acquired meningitis in adults in the UK and Ireland in 2017: a retrospective cohort study on behalf of the National Infection Trainees Collaborative for Audit and Research (NITCAR)
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Ellis J, Harvey D, Defres S, Chandna A, MacLachlan E, Solomon T, Heyderman RS, McGill F, National Audit of Meningitis Management (NAMM) group
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    BMJ Open
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  • Keywords:
    BACTERIOLOGY, Diagnostic microbiology, INTERNAL MEDICINE, Infectious disease/HIV, Molecular diagnostics, Protocols & guidelines, Adult, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Humans, Ireland, Meningitis, Bacterial, Retrospective Studies, United Kingdom
  • Notes:
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
OBJECTIVES: To assess practice in the care of adults with suspected community-acquired bacterial meningitis in the UK and Ireland. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: 64 UK and Irish hospitals. PARTICIPANTS: 1471 adults with community-acquired meningitis of any aetiology in 2017. RESULTS: None of the audit standards, from the 2016 UK Joint Specialists Societies guideline on diagnosis and management of meningitis, were met in all cases. With respect to 20 of 30 assessed standards, clinical management provided for patients was in line with recommendations in less than 50% of cases. 45% of patients had blood cultures taken within an hour of admission, 0.5% had a lumbar puncture within 1 hour, 26% within 8 hours. 28% had bacterial molecular diagnostic tests on cerebrospinal fluid. Median time to first dose of antibiotics was 3.2 hours (IQR 1.3-9.2). 80% received empirical parenteral cephalosporins. 55% ≥60 years and 31% of immunocompromised patients received anti-Listeria antibiotics. 21% received steroids. Of the 1471 patients, 20% had confirmed bacterial meningitis. Among those with bacterial meningitis, pneumococcal aetiology, admission to intensive care and initial Glasgow Coma Scale Score less than 14 were associated with in-hospital mortality (adjusted OR (aOR) 2.08, 95% CI 0.96 to 4.48; aOR 4.28, 95% CI 1.81 to 10.1; aOR 2.90, 95% CI 1.26 to 6.71, respectively). Dexamethasone therapy was weakly associated with a reduction in mortality in both those with proven bacterial meningitis (aOR 0.57, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.17) and with pneumococcal meningitis (aOR 0.47, 95% CI 0.20 to 1.10). CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that clinical care for patients with meningitis in the UK is not in line with current evidence-based national guidelines. Diagnostics and therapeutics should be targeted for quality improvement strategies. Work should be done to improve the impact of guidelines, understand why they are not followed and, once published, ensure they translate into changed practice.
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