Background: Tuberculosis is still a major cause of serious illness in developing countries. The objective of this study was to assess the clinical, laboratory, radiological and prognostic features of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) in immuncompetent adult patients.
Patients and Methods: Sixty-one patients with confirmed or presumed TBM seen over a 12-year period at the Neurology Department of Bakirkoy Research and Training Hospital for Psychiatric and Neurological Disease, Istanbul, Turkey, were analyzed retrospectively. Patients were grouped according to the severity of meningitis on admission (stages I, II and III). They were also divided into two groups according to the presence of paradoxical response (progressive increase of lymphocytes or increase of polymorphonuclear cells instead of lymphocytes) in CSF samples. A combination of five antituberculosis drugs was used in the 1st month of treatment. Patients received antituberculosis therapy for at [east 12 months. The outcome of the patients was defined on the basis of the 12-month Barthel index (BI) score (BI < 12 poor; BI greater than or equal to 12 good). For statistical analysis death was included in the poor outcome group.
Results: Paradoxical response in CSF findings was seen in 20 patients. There was no statistically significant difference between the outcome of the patients with and without CSF paradoxical response; however, new tuberculomas developed more frequently in the first group (p < 0.05). The overall mortality was 27.8%. Stage of disease was found to be independently associated with the 12-month outcome (OR 7.2; 95% CI 1.7-30.3, p = 0.007).
Conclusion: In developing countries such as Turkey, tuberculosis is still an important public health issue. Early suspicion and appropriate Long-term antituberculosis therapy together with corticosteroids may reduce mortality and morbidity in IBM patients.