This study reviews our experience in 83 cases of brain abscesses in children diagnosed at seven teaching hospitals during the 10-year period from June 1978 to July 1987. The average age of the patients was 7 years, with 12% of them less than 1 year old. The male-to-female ratio was 1.7:1. Of the brain abscesses, 90.4% were detected by CT brain scan. A total of 50.6% patients had congenital heart disease, and 20.4% patients had sepsis and/or meningitis. Only 6% cases had ear, nose, and throat infection. Sixty-eight (81.9%) patients received a combination of antibiotics and surgical treatment. The cerebral abscesses were totally excised in 26 cases, aspirated and partially excised in 6, and aspirated in 32. Sixty patients had pus cultures from the cerebral abscesses. Organisms were isolated in 29 (49.2%) of them. Streptococcus was by far the most common organism. The overall outcome was: 49 (59%) alive; 16 (19.3%) dead; 18 (21.7%) lost to follow-up. Among the 16 mortalities, the causes of death were due to failure to treat the diseases causing the brain abscesses. We had a better outcome in patients whose cerebral abscesses were totally excised or whose abscesses were aspirated, and in patients who were older than 1 year of age.
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