A brain abscess is a collection of pus that occurs in the brain because of an infection. In the past, a brain abscess was “invariably fatal,” but progress in diagnosis and treatment has greatly increased the odds of survival. However, it remains a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
Signs and symptoms of a brain abscess
The hallmark signs of a brain abscess are headache, fever, and neurologic difficulties.
- Poor mental focus
- Poor responsiveness
- Slow thought processes
- Muscle weakness
- Speech problems, such as slurred speech
- Antibiotics (initially cefotaxime or ceftriaxone, plus metronidazole for Bacteroidessp or vancomycinfor Staphylococcus aureus based on suspicion, then as guided by culture and susceptibility testing)
- Usually CT-guided stereotactic aspiration or surgical drainage
- Sometimes corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, or both