Tuberculous meningitis: where to from here?
Donovan J., Thwaites GE., Huynh J.
Purpose of reviewTuberculous meningitis (TBM) is associated with significant mortality and morbidity yet is difficult to diagnose and treat. We reviewed original research published in the last 2 years, since 1 January 2018, which we considered to have a major impact in advancing diagnosis, treatment and understanding of the pathophysiology of TBM meningitis in children and adults.Recent findingsStudies have sought to identify a high sensitivity diagnostic test for TBM, with new data on modified Ziehl--Neelsen staining, urinary and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) lipoarabinomannan and GeneXpert Ultra. Recent studies on CSF biomarkers provide a better understanding of the detrimental inflammatory cascade and neuromarkers of brain damage and suggest potential for novel host-directed therapy. Tryptophan metabolism appears to affect outcome and requires further study. Increased clinical trials activity in TBM focuses on optimizing antituberculosis drug regimens and adjuvant therapy; however, there are few planned paediatric trials.SummaryTuberculous meningitis still kills or disables around half of sufferers. Although some progress has been made, there remains a need for more sensitive diagnostic tests, better drug therapy, improved management of complications and understanding of host-directed therapy if outcomes are to improve.