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BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to 1 or more antituberculosis drugs is an increasingly common clinical problem, although the impact on outcome is uncertain. METHODS: We performed a prospective study of 180 Vietnamese adults admitted consecutively for TBM. M. tuberculosis was cultured from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of all patients and was tested for susceptibility to first-line antituberculosis drugs. Presenting clinical features, time to CSF bacterial clearance, clinical response to treatment, and 9-month morbidity and mortality were compared between adults infected with susceptible and those infected with drug-resistant organisms. RESULTS: Of 180 isolates, 72 (40.0%) were resistant to at least 1 antituberculosis drug, and 10 (5.6%) were resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin. Isoniazid and/or streptomycin resistance was associated with slower CSF bacterial clearance but not with any differences in clinical response or outcome. Combined isoniazid and rifampicin resistance was strongly predictive of death (relative risk of death, 11.63 [95% confidence interval, 5.21-26.32]) and was independently associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection. CONCLUSIONS: Isoniazid and/or streptomycin resistance probably has no detrimental effect on the outcome of TBM when patients are treated with first-line antituberculosis drugs, but combined isoniazid and rifampicin resistance is strongly predictive of death.

Original publication




Journal article


J Infect Dis

Publication Date





79 - 88


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Antitubercular Agents, Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial, Drug Therapy, Combination, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Treatment Outcome, Tuberculosis, Meningeal