The association of meningitis with postoperative cerebrospinal fluid fistula

Kyle P. Allen, Brandon Isaacson, J. Walter Kutz, Patricia L. Purcell, Peter S. Roland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the risk factors for and the clinical course of postoperative meningitis following lateral skull base surgery and to determine its relationship to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistula. Patients: Patients undergoing lateral skull base surgery between July 1999 and February 2010 at an academic tertiary referral center. All subjects had culture-proven meningitis or suspected bacterial meningitis in the postoperative period. Medical records were compared with the lateral skull base patients who did not develop meningitis. Results: Of 508 procedures, 16 patients developed meningitis (3.1%). The most common diagnosis was acoustic neuroma in 81.3%; 68.8% of patients had a CSF leak prior to onset of meningitis, and 50% received a lumbar drain. The median time from surgery to the onset ofmeningitis was 12 days with a range of 2 to 880 days. The relative risk of developing meningitis in the setting of postoperative CSF fistula is 10.2 (p<0.0001). No meningitis-associated mortality was observed. Conclusions: Postoperative meningitis occurred in a small number of patients undergoing lateral skull base surgery. A postoperative CSF fistula leads to an increased risk of meningitis by a factor of 10.2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-404
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurological Surgery, Part B: Skull Base
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Meningitis
  • Postoperative meningitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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