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.
Eng RHK, Seligman SJ. Lumbar Puncture—Induced Meningitis. JAMA. 1981;245(14):1456-1459. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310390056023