Complicated subdural empyema in an adolescent

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7 Scopus citations


Little is known regarding typical neuropsychological outcomes of intracranial empyema, a rare complication of sinusitis marked by accumulation of purulent material adjacent to the brain. A 15-year-old, right-handed male presented with a 3-day history of congestion, lethargy, fever, headache, dizziness, unequal pupil dilation, and right-sided facial droop. Computed tomography revealed right-sided subdural empyema causing subfalcine, central, foraminal uncal, and tonsillar herniation. Postoperative inpatient neuropsychological consultation was requested 17 days postsurgery due to language deficits. Through comparison of neuropsychological and radiological findings, this case of subdural empyema demonstrates the anatomical and functional impact of mass effect on the brainstem and the vasculature of the contralateral hemisphere. Deficits were observed in expressive language, processing speed, and fine motor functioning, all of which lingered 6 months postacute. This case study reviews the pathophysiology of subdural empyema and illustrates its potential neuropsychological impact to inform clinicians encountering this rare condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Neuropsychology
  • Pediatrics
  • Sinusitis
  • Subdural empyema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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