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August 1983

Auditory Brainstem Response in Infants Recovering From Bacterial Meningitis: Neurologic Assessment

Author Affiliations

From the Electrophysiology Laboratory, David T. Siegel Institute for Communicative Disorders, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago, and Department of Surgery, (Otolaryngology), University of Chicago.

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(8):499-502. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04210070039011

• Auditory brainstem response (ABR) was used to assess possible brainstem damage in 60 patients recovering from bacterial meningitis. Clear evidence of brainstem abnormalities was evident in 10% of the patients tested. Another 15% had ABRs classified as borderline normal. We evaluated various clinial and demographic factors to determine their predictive value with regard to neurologic abnormalities. Brainstem involvement was most likely when meningitis was complicated by seizures, hydrocephalus, nerve palsies (not including the eighth nerve), and a hemoglobin level of less than 11 g/dL, and when pretreatment symptoms persisted for longer than three days. Instances of partial and complete reversibility of brainstem damage were documented, indicating that reorganization of brainstem structures persisted after patients were discharged from the hospital.

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