Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Dexamethasone Therapy for Bacterial Meningitis

M. H. Lebel, M. J. Hoyt, D. C. Waagner, N. K. Rollins, T. Finitzo, G. H. McCracken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


We conducted a third placebo-controlled, double-blind study of dexamethasone as adjunctive therapy for bacterial meningitis. Thirty-one patients received cefuroxime sodium and dexamethasone phosphate and 29 received cefuroxime and placebo. The groups were comparable at the beginning of therapy. Magnetic resonance imaging performed between days 2 and 5 of therapy was used to assess brain water content indirectly. There were no differences between the 2 treatment groups with respect to the T1- or T2-weighted images. Fifty-two patients had normal magnetic resonance images; 5 patients had parietal or bifrontal extra-axial fluid collections, and 2 children had areas of abnormal signal intensity in the brain on T2-weighted images. Abnormal findings on magnetic resonance imaging did not alter clinical management, and there was no correlation between the results of magnetic resonance imaging and the outcome of meningitis. The number of patients in this study was too small to determine any statistically significant differences in rates of hearing impairment; however, the cerebrospinal fluid findings and clinical outcome in dexamethasone-treated patients further support the previously reported beneficial effect of corticosteroid treatment in patients with bacterial meningitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-306
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Diseases of Children
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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