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Acute febrile encephalopathy in adults from Northwest India

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Author(s): Bhalla Ashish | Suri Vika | Varma Subhash | Sharma Navneet | Mahi Sushil | Singh Paramjeet | Khandelwal Niranjan

Journal: Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock
ISSN 0974-2700

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 220;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Altered mentation | encephalopathy | fever | meningoencephalitis | tropics

ABSTRACT
Background : Acute onset fever with altered mentation is a common problem encountered by the physician practicing in tropical countries. Central nervous system (CNS) infections are the most common cause resulting in fever with altered mentation in children. Aim : In this study, we have tried to analyze the cause of encephalopathy following short febrile illness in adults presenting to a tertiary care center in Northwestern part of India. Setting and Design : A prospective observational study carried out in a tertiary care center in the Northwestern India over a period of 1 year. Material and Methods : A total of 127 patients with fever of less than 2 weeks duration along with alteration in mentation were studied prospectively over a period of 12 months. The demographic variables were recorded in detail. In addition to routine investigations, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, noncontrast- and contrast-enhanced computed tomography, along with magnetic resonance imaging were performed in all the subjects. Statistical Analysis : The results were analyzed using SPSS statistical software. The values were expressed as mean with standard deviation for contiguous variable as percentage for the others. Results and Conclusion : Out of these, 70% had primary CNS infection as the etiology. A total of 33% patients had meningitis, 29.9% had evidence of meningoencephalitis, and 12.7% were diagnosed as sepsis-associated encephalopathy. These were followed by cerebral malaria, leptospirosis, and brain abscess as the cause of febrile encephalopathy in adults. Among the noninfectious causes, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, cortical venous thrombosis, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome were documented in 2.36% each. In 11% of the patients, the final diagnosis could not be made in spite of the extensive investigations. Our study demonstrates that acute febrile encephalopathy in adults is a heterogeneous syndrome with primary CNS infections being the commonest etiology.
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