Consensus document on controversial issues for the treatment of infections of the central nervous system: bacterial brain abscesses

Massimo Arlotti, Paolo Grossi, Federico Pea, Giustino Tomei, Vincenzo Vullo, Francesco G. De Rosa, Giovanni Di Perri, Emanuele Nicastri, Francesco N. Lauria, Giampiero Carosi, Mauro Moroni, Giuseppe Ippolito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Bacterial brain abscesses remain a serious central nervous system problem despite advances in neurosurgical, neuroimaging, and microbiological techniques and the availability of new antibiotics. The successful treatment of brain abscesses requires surgery, appropriate antibiotic therapy, and eradication of the primary source; nevertheless many controversial issues on the management of this serious infection remain unresolved. Controversial issues: The aim of this GISIG (Gruppo Italiano di Studio sulle Infezioni Gravi) working group - a panel of multidisciplinary experts - was to define recommendations for some controversial issues using an evidence-based and analytical approach. The controversial issues were: (1) Which patients with bacterial brain abscesses can be managed safely using medical treatment alone? (1a) What is the efficacy in terms of outcome, tolerability, cost/efficacy, and quality of life of the different antibiotic regimens used to treat bacterial cerebral abscesses? (1b) Which antibiotics have the best pharmacokinetics and/or tissue penetration of brain and/or brain abscess? 2) What is the best surgical approach in terms of outcome in managing bacterial brain abscesses? Results are presented and discussed in detail. Methods: A systematic literature search using the MEDLINE database for the period 1988 to 2008 of randomized controlled trials and/or non-randomized studies was performed. A matrix was created to extract evidence from original studies using the CONSORT method to evaluate randomized clinical trials and the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale for case-control studies, longitudinal cohorts, and retrospective studies. The GRADE method for grading quality of evidence and strength of recommendation was applied.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSUPPL. 4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Brain abscesses
  • Brain antibiotic diffusion
  • Conservative medical approach
  • Surgical approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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