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Definition:

A subdural effusion is a collection of pus beneath the outer lining of the brain.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

A subdural effusion is a rare complication of bacterial meningitis . Subdural effusion is more common in infants and in persons who have meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae .



Symptoms:

Signs and tests:

There is often a recent history of bacterial meningitis. Tests include:



Treatment:

Surgery to drain the effusion is often necessary. Rarely, a permanent drainage device (shunt) is needed to drain fluid. Antibiotics may need to be given through a vein.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Full recovery from a subdural effusion is expected. If neurological problems continue, they are generally due to the meningitis, not the effusion. Long-term use of antibiotics is usually not necessary.



Complications:

Complications from surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Damage to brain structures, which can lead to temporary or permanent brain and nervous system (neurological) problems
  • Infection


Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your child has recently been treated for meningitis and symptoms continue
  • New symptoms develop


Prevention:



References:

Swartz MN. Meningitis: bacterial, viral, and other. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 437.




Review Date: 10/30/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100