Value of different staging systems for predicting neurological outcome in childhood tuberculous meningitis
BACKGROUND: The stage of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) at presentation is strongly associated with prognosis. OBJECTIVE: To compare different staging systems for TBM in predicting outcome. METHODS: The associations of different staging systems with neurological outcome were assessed using clinical, diagnostic and outcome data of 554 TBM children admitted to Tygerberg Children's Hospital from January 1985 to April 2005. RESULTS: The refined Medical Research Council (MRC) scale after 1 week (84%, 95%CI 81-88) had the highest discriminatory power in predicting neurological morbidity. The Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) on admission, GCS after 1 week, the 'refined' MRC scale on admission and Tygerberg Children's Hospital (TCH) staging method all had excellent discriminatory powers in predicting outcome. Improvement of staging after 1 week occurred in children who did not have signs of raised intracranial pressure (P = 0.004) or brainstem dysfunction on admission (P = 0.030). CONCLUSIONS: The 'refined' MRC scale 1 week after diagnosis showed the best association with neurological outcome after 6 months of treatment. The excellent discriminatory power of the TCH scale and its simplicity of use make it the ideal scale for use in resource-poor settings. © 2012 The Union.