International Survey Reveals Opportunities to Improve Tuberculous Meningitis Management and the Need for Standardized Guidelines

Elizabeth W. Tucker, Suzaan Marais, James A. Seddon, Reinout van Crevel, Ahmad Rizal Ganiem, Rovina Ruslami, Wenhong Zhang, Feng Sun, Xian Zhou, Regan S. Solomons, Fiona V. Cresswell, Jo Wilmshurst, Ursula Rohlwink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is a medical emergency, yet there are no standardized treatment guidelines for the medical or neurosurgical management of these patients and little data on neurocritical care. We conducted an international survey to understand current medical and neurosurgical TBM management and resource availability to provide baseline data needed for future multicenter trials addressing unanswered clinical research questions and the establishment of standardized guidelines. Methods. An online survey of 77 questions covering medical and neurosurgical TBM management aimed at clinicians/nurses treating TBM was distributed as an anonymous link through email invitation, international organizations’ membership distribution, and direct links on organizational webpages or social media. The survey remained open for 5 months. Data were summarized with frequencies and percentages. Results. The survey had 222 responses from 43 countries representing 6 continents. Most respondents were from tertiary care facilities, with broad access to medical and neurosurgical resources. There was significant heterogeneity in general supportive care, and TBM-specific management demonstrated considerable divergence from current standard-of-care practices. The lack of standardized guidelines was identified as a major challenge in TBM management. General and neurocritical care were largely absent. Resources for bedside supportive care and noninvasive monitoring were broadly accessible. Conclusions. These findings suggest that current TBM management could be improved by the establishment of internationally accepted treatment guidelines based on available evidence, and that numerous centers have resources available to participate in future multicenter trials, even for basic interventions, that may further improve patient outcomes globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • International guidelines
  • Neurocritical care
  • Neurosurgery
  • Survey
  • Tuberculous meningitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Infectious Diseases


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