Brain abscess

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By John E Greenlee MD

Major risk factors for development of brain abscess are sinusitis or otitis, in particular if these conditions are complicated by epidural abscess or subdural empyema (Kastenbauer et al 2004). Risk factors associated with brain abscesses of hematogenous origin include cyanotic congenital heart disease with right-to-left shunt; hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia; acute infective endocarditis, at times in the setting of intravenous drug abuse; chronic, pyogenic lung abscess; and AIDS and other conditions of impaired host immune response (Fritz and Nelson 1997; Tunkel et al 2000; Kastenbauer et al 2004; Tabakow et al 2005; Gallitelli et al 2006a; Gallitelli et al 2006b; Sell et al 2008; Diaz et al 2010; Brouwer et al 2014a; Brouwer et al 2014b). In a few instances hematogenous brain abscess has been associated with patent foramen ovale (Kawamata et al 2001; Chen et al 2008). Rarely, brain abscess may develop within an intraparenchymal hemorrhage or cerebral infarct with hemorrhagic transformation (Siatouni et al 2007; Kraemer et al 2008).

In This Article

Historical note and nomenclature
Clinical manifestations
Clinical vignette
Pathogenesis and pathophysiology
Differential diagnosis
Diagnostic workup
Prognosis and complications
References cited