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Subdural effusion

Definition

A subdural effusion is a collection of fluid trapped between the surface of the brain and the outer lining of the brain (the dura matter). If this fluid becomes infected, the condition is called a subdural empyema.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

A subdural effusion is a rare complication of bacterial meningitis . Subdural effusion is more common in infants and in persons who have meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae .

Symptoms

Signs and tests

The doctor or nurse will examine you. Tests include:

Treatment

Surgery to drain the effusion is often necessary. Rarely, a permanent drainage device (shunt) is needed to drain fluid. Antibiotics may need to be given through a vein.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Full recovery from a subdural effusion is expected. If neurological problems continue, they are generally due to the meningitis, not the effusion. Long-term use of antibiotics is usually not necessary.

Complications

Complications from surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Brain damage
  • Infection

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your child has recently been treated for meningitis and symptoms continue
  • New symptoms develop

Prevention

References

Koshy A, Roos K. Infections of the nervous system: bacterial and fungal. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. . 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 53C.

Swartz MN, Nath A. Meningitis: bacterial, viral, and other. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. . 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 420.

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    Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.