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April 10, 1981

Lumbar Puncture—Induced Meningitis

Author Affiliations

From the Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Medicine, Kings County Hospital Center and State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, New York. Dr Eng is now with the Veterans Administration Medical Center, East Orange, NJ.

JAMA. 1981;245(14):1456-1459. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310390056023

A retrospective study was done to evaluate the risk of lumbar puncture—induced meningitis. Fourteen percent (23/165) of patients with bacteremia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitis, and groups A and B streptococci had spontaneous meningitis (without a preceding lumbar puncture). In contrast, only 0.8% (7/924) of patients with blood culture containing other organisms had spontaneous meningitis and 2.1% (3/140) of these patients had clinical courses consistent with lumbar puncture—induced meningitis. However, the 2.1% incidence in the latter group is not significantly different from 0.8%, the expected incidence of spontaneous meningitis. It is suggested that if lumbar puncture—induced meningitis does occur, it is rare enough to be clinically insignificant.

(JAMA 1981;245:1456-1459)