Central nervous system infections in the critically ill

John J. Lewin, Marc Lapointe, Wendy C. Ziai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Central nervous system (CNS) infections are frequently encountered in the intensive care unit setting and are a significant source of morbidity and mortality. The constantly changing trends in microbial resistance, as well as the pharmacokinetic difficulties in providing effective concentrations of antimicrobials at the site of infection represent a unique challenge to clinicians. Achievement of a successful outcome in patients with CNS infections is reliant on eradication of the offending pathogen and management of any neurologic complications. This requires an anatomic and physiologic understanding of the different types of CNS infection, diagnostic strategies, associated complications, causative organisms, and the principles that govern drug distribution into the CNS. This article serves as a review of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment options for a variety of CNS infections, with a focus on those commonly encountered in an intensive care setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-41
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Abscess
  • Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Subdural empyema
  • Ventriculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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