The need to repeat lumbar puncture

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

Article

The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za

Article

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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