The need to repeat lumbar puncture

Soskolne, E. I. ; Kuhn, S. H. ; Van Der Merwe P. L. ; Keet, M. P. (1977)

CITATION: Soskolne, E. I., et al. 1977. The need to repeat lumbar puncture. South African Medical Journal, 51(12):395-396.

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4 Patients with bacterial meningitis are reported. On initial examination, 1 patient had a slightly abnormal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and in the other 3 patients, the CSF was completely normal. An obviously purulent CSF was obtained when lumbar puncture was repeated 14 to 48 hr later. All 4 patients presented initially with pyrexia, and either neck stiffness or convulsions. In 3 of the 4 patients, a cause for pyrexia was found on initial examination but lumbar punctures were done for neck stiffness of convulsions to exclude meningitis. The problems and the need to repeat a lumbar puncture, as well as the importance of blood cultures in a patient with suspected meningitis, are discussed. The fact that a normal specimen of CSF does not exclude meningitis is stressed.

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