Patterns of cerebral tissue oxygen tension and cytoplasmic redox state in bacterial meningitis

Lykke Larsen, Troels Halfeld Nielsen, Carl-Henrik Nordström, Åse Bengård Andersen, Jens Schierbeck, Mette Katrine Schulz, Frantz Rom Poulsen

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Background: Compromised cerebral energy metabolism is common in patients with bacterial meningitis. In this study, simultaneous measurements of cerebral oxygen tension and lactate/pyruvate ratio were compared to explore whether disturbed energy metabolism was usually caused by insufficient tissue oxygenation or compromised oxidative metabolism of pyruvate indicating mitochondrial dysfunction. Subject and Methods: Ten consecutive patients with severe streptococcus meningitis were included in this prospective cohort study. Intracranial pressure, brain tissue oxygen tension (PbtO 2 ), and energy metabolism (intracerebral microdialysis) were continuously monitored in nine patients. A cerebral lactate/pyruvate (LP) ratio <30 was considered indicating normal oxidative metabolism, LP ratio >30 simultaneously with pyruvate below lower normal level (70 µmol/L) was interpreted as biochemical indication of ischemia, and LP ratio >30 simultaneously with a normal or increased level of pyruvate was interpreted as mitochondrial dysfunction. The biochemical variables were compared with PbtO 2 simultaneously monitored within the same cerebral region. Results: In two cases, the LP ratio was normal during the whole study period and the simultaneously monitored PbtO 2 was 18 ± 6 mm Hg. In six cases, interpreted as mitochondrial dysfunction, the simultaneously monitored PbtO 2 was 20 ± 6 mm Hg and without correlation with the LP ratio. In one patient, exhibiting a pattern interpreted as ischemia, PbtO 2 decreased below 10 mm Hg and a correlation between LP and PbtO 2 was observed. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that compromised cerebral energy metabolism, evidenced by increased LP ratio, was common in patients with severe bacterial meningitis while not related to insufficient tissue oxygenation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)329-336
Publication statusPublished - 1. Mar 2019


  • bacterial meningitis
  • cerebral tissue oxygenation
  • intracerebral microdialysis
  • intracranial pressure, ischemia
  • mitochondrial dysfunction


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