, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 332-338

Management of increased intracranial pressure in cryptococcal meningitis

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Therapy of cryptococcal meningitis has been focused primarily on optimizing the antifungal regimen to improve the previously high treatment failure rates. Until recently, relatively little attention has been paid to the impact of increased intracranial pressure, which is a frequent problem that complicates management of patients with cryptococcal meningitis. Patients with elevated baseline opening pressures have higher titers of cerebrospinal fluid cryptococcal capsular polysaccharide antigen, more frequent headaches, meningismus, papilledema, hearing loss, and pathologic reflexes, as well as increased morbidity and mortality compared with those patients with normal opening pressures. Optimal therapy has not yet been firmly established, but the diagnostic evaluation and available treatment options are reviewed here, including frequent high volume lumbar punctures, lumbar drains, ventriculoperitoneal shunting, and corticosteroids.