CSF lactate for accurate diagnosis of community-acquired bacterial meningitis

  • S. Giulieri
  • C. Chapuis-Taillard
  • K. Jaton
  • A. Cometta
  • C. Chuard
  • O. Hugli
  • R. Du Pasquier
  • J. Bille
  • P. Meylan
  • O. Manuel
  • O. Marchetti


CSF lactate measurement is recommended when nosocomial meningitis is suspected, but its value in community-acquired bacterial meningitis is controversial. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of lactate and other CSF parameters in a prospective cohort of adult patients with acute meningitis. Diagnostic accuracy of lactate and other CSF parameters in patients with microbiologically documented episodes was assessed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. The cut-offs with the best diagnostic performance were determined. Forty-five of 61 patients (74 %) had a documented bacterial (n = 18; S. pneumoniae, 11; N. meningitidis, 5; other, 2) or viral (n = 27 enterovirus, 21; VZV, 3; other, 3) etiology. CSF parameters were significantly different in bacterial vs. viral meningitis, respectively (p < 0.001 for all comparisons): white cell count (median 1333 vs. 143/mm3), proteins (median 4115 vs. 829 mg/l), CSF/blood glucose ratio (median 0.1 vs. 0.52), lactate (median 13 vs. 2.3 mmol/l). ROC curve analysis showed that CSF lactate had the highest accuracy for discriminating bacterial from viral meningitis, with a cutoff set at 3.5 mmol/l providing 100 % sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, and efficiency. CSF lactate had the best accuracy for discriminating bacterial from viral meningitis and should be included in the initial diagnostic workup of this condition.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Giulieri
    • 1
  • C. Chapuis-Taillard
    • 1
  • K. Jaton
    • 2
  • A. Cometta
    • 3
  • C. Chuard
    • 4
  • O. Hugli
    • 5
  • R. Du Pasquier
    • 6
  • J. Bille
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. Meylan
    • 1
    • 2
  • O. Manuel
    • 1
  • O. Marchetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Infectious Diseases Service, Department of MedicineLausanne University Hospital (CHUV)LausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Microbiology, Department of LaboratoriesLausanne University Hospital (CHUV)LausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Internal Medicine ServiceRegional HospitalYverdonSwitzerland
  4. 4.Internal Medicine ServiceCantonal HospitalFribourgSwitzerland
  5. 5.Emergency Medicine DepartmentLausanne University Hospital (CHUV)LausanneSwitzerland
  6. 6.Neurology Service, Department of Clinical NeurosciencesLausanne University Hospital (CHUV)LausanneSwitzerland

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