Listeria monocytogenes meningoencephalitis in adults: analysis of factors related to unfavourable outcome
To analyse the short-term outcome in patients with Listeria monocytogenes meningoencephalitis (LMME) to improve management and outcome.
Observational study with adult patients with LMME between 1977 and 2009 at a tertiary hospital in Barcelona, Spain. Parameters that predicted outcome were assessed with univariate and logistic regression analysis.
Of 59 cases of LMME, 28 occurred in the last decade. Since 1987, a new protocol has been used and 29/45 patients (64 %) treated since then received adjuvant dexamethasone. In patients who received this treatment there was a trend towards fewer neurological sequelae (5 vs 33 %; p = 0.052). Antiseizure prophylaxis with phenytoin was administered in 13/45 (28 %) patients. Seizures occurred in 7/45 (16 %) patients, all in the group who did not receive phenytoin. Hydrocephalus presented in 8/59 (14 %). It was never present at admission and five patients needed neurosurgical procedures. Sequelae after 3 months were present in 8/45 (18 %), mostly cranial nerve palsy. Rhombencephalitis (RE) was related to the presence of neurologic sequelae (OR: 20.4, 95 % CI: 1.76–236). Overall mortality was 14/59 (24 %), 9/59 (15 %) due to neurological causes related to hydrocephalus or seizures. Mortality was defined as early in 36 % and late in 64 %. In the multivariate analysis, independent risk factors for mortality were presence of hydrocephalus (OR: 17.8, 95 % CI: 2.753–114) and inappropriate empirical antibiotic therapy (OR: 6.5, 95 % CI: 1.201–35).
Outcome of LMME may be improved by appropriate empirical antibiotic therapy, suspicion and careful management of hydrocephalus. Use of adjuvant dexamethasone or phenytoin in a subgroup of these patients might have a benefit.