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Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria

Print version ISSN 0004-282XOn-line version ISSN 1678-4227


CASELLA, Erasmo Barbante et al. Sequelae from meningococcal meningitis in children: a critical analysis of dexamethasone therapy. Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. [online]. 2004, vol.62, n.2b, pp.421-428. ISSN 0004-282X.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of dexamethasone as an adjunctive therapy to antibiotics in children with meningococcal meningitis. METHOD: A total of 81 children diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis hospitalized in sequence were studied at the University Hospital of São Paulo University, with the objective of evaluating the presence of sequelae in four different groups of patients, following the administration of dexamethasone: Group I - 25 patients who received the first dose at least 10 minutes before the introduction of the antibiotic therapy; Group II - 19 patients who received the corticosteroid concomitantly; Group III - 14 patients for which the dexamethasone was administered after beginning the antibiotic scheme; Group IV - 23 patients that did not receive dexamethasone. The groups were evaluated for homogeneity through the prognostic indexes and clinical and laboratory characteristics, based on the records obtained at hospitalization. RESULTS: Some degree of sequelae occurred in 16 (26.22%) of the survivors and 23 patients (28.39%) coursed with sequelae or died. The mean period of neurological attendance was 36.97 months and neurological alterations were detected in 16.17% of the patients. No significant difference was found between the four groups. There was also no statistical difference in the comparison of the neurological sequelae in the children from group IV with the children of groups I and II or even with groups I, II and III analyzed as a whole. The presence of hearing loss occurred in 11.11% of the patients, again there was no significant difference between the four groups. Psychological evaluation was performed using the WPSSI and WISC tests. A mild mental disability was detected in one patient from group I and another in group III. The overall analysis of the sequelae (neurological, auditory and intellectual level) also did not demonstrate any significant difference between the four groups. Comparing the children from groups I and II together and also groups I, II and III as a whole with the children in group IV also failed to detect a significant difference arising from the use or nonuse of the corticosteroid. CONCLUSION: Dexamethasone was not proven to be effective in decreasing the number of sequelae among patients with meningococcal meningitis.

Keywords : sequelae; meningococcal meningitis; dexamethasone.

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