Print E-mail
Volume 45, Number 6, December 2012

Factors for poor prognosis of neonatal bacterial meningitis in a medical center in Northern Taiwan

Mu-Chun Lin, Hsin Chi, Nan-Chang Chiu, Fu-Yuan Huang, Che-Sheng Ho

Received: April 1, 2011    Revised: June 14, 2011    Accepted: August 31, 2011   


Corresponding author:
  • Department of Pediatrics, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Mackay Medicine, Nursing and Management College, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Corresponding Author InformationCorresponding author. Department of Pediatrics, Mackay Memorial Hospital, No. 92, Section 2, Chung Shan North Road, Taipei 10449, Taiwan.


Background and purpose: 

Bacterial meningitis has long been a severe infectious disease in neonates, as well as a leading cause of adverse outcomes. We designed this study to know the factors for poor prognosis in neonatal bacterial meningitis.



We enrolled children aged less than 1 month who were admitted to Mackay Memorial Hospital from 1984 to 2008 and had culture-proven bacterial meningitis. The laboratory data and children’s clinical features were recorded. The patients’ outcomes were divided into four groups: death, having sequelae, complete recovery, and loss to follow-up. Patients with the outcomes of death and having sequelae were regarded as having a poor prognosis. Those who were lost to follow-up were excluded from the analysis of outcome. Multivariate analyses were performed to find the risk factors for poor prognosis.



One hundred fifty-six neonates fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Among these, 96 were boys (61.5%) and 102 (65.4%) had concomitant bacteremia. Group B streptococci (39.1%) and Escherichia coli (20.1%) were the two leading pathogens. Excluding those who were lost to follow-up (4.5%), 22 of 149 patients (14.8%) died, 36 (24.2%) had sequelae, and 91 (61.1%) recovered completely. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein more than 500 mg/dL at admission {odds ratio (OR): 171.18 [95% confidence interval (CI): 25.6–1000]}, predisposition to congenital heart disease [OR: 48.96 (95% CI: 6.06–395.64)], hearing impairment found during hospitalization [OR: 23.40 (95% CI: 3.62–151.25)], and seizure at admission or during hospitalization [OR: 10.10 (95% CI: 2.11–48.32)] were the factors predicting poor prognosis.



In this 25-year study of newborns with bacterial meningitis, approximately one-seventh of the patients died, while two-fifths had sequelae. Nearly two-thirds of these had concomitant bacteremia. Group B streptococci and E. coli remained the two leading pathogens throughout the study period. Several factors for poor prognosis in newborns with culture-proven bacterial meningitis were found: high CSF protein concentration, congenital heart disease, hearing impairment, and seizure.


Key words:

Bacterial meningitisNeonatePrognosis