A 40-year-old man had experienced headaches for 6 days and a 51-year-old man (2 weeks after an operation for perianal abscess) had experienced tingling sensations in the left hand for 10 days. After an epileptic seizure both underwent a CT scan of the brain. On these an abnormality was visible, probably a malignant astrocytoma. After several days of complaint reduction with dexamethasone, drowsiness and leftsided hemiparesis occurred. Emergency operations revealed a brain abscess. In the younger patient drainage and the administration of antibiotics were followed by fatal brain oedema. In the eldest drainage and the administration of antibiotics were followed by the extraction of infected teeth; he recovered with a slight loss of strength in the left hand. Brain abscesses are rare in the Netherlands. The diagnosis can be difficult because clinical signs and symptoms are not specific and because an underlying systemic infection is often not apparent. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging can nowadays differentiate purulent brain processes from cystic brain tumors. Early treatment (burr hole aspiration and antibiotics) is usually curative. Nevertheless, mortality continues to be almost 10% and (permanent) morbidity 45%.
|Translated title of the contribution||Brain abscess: a difficult diagnosis|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Apr 2003|