The Francis Crick Institute
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A retrospective analysis of 20,178 adult neurological infection admissions to United Kingdom critical care units from 2001 to 2020.

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-01-29, 12:36 authored by Joseph Donovan, Abena Glover, John Gregson, Andrew W Hitchings, Emma C Wall, Robert S Heyderman
BACKGROUND: Neurological infection is an important cause of critical illness, yet little is known on the epidemiology of neurological infections requiring critical care. METHODS: We analysed data on all adults with proven or probable neurological infection admitted to UK (NHS) critical care units between 2001 and 2020 reported to the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre. Diagnoses, physiological variables, organ support and clinical outcomes were analysed over the whole period, and for consecutive 5-year intervals within it. Predictors of in-hospital mortality were identified using a backward stepwise regression model. RESULTS: We identified 20,178 critical care admissions for neurological infection. Encephalitis was the most frequent presentation to critical care, comprising 6725 (33.3%) of 20,178 cases. Meningitis- bacterial, viral or unspecified cases - accounted for 10,056 (49.8%) of cases. In-hospital mortality was high, at 3945/19,765 (20.0%) overall. Over the four consecutive 5-year periods, there were trends towards higher Glasgow Coma Scale scores on admission, longer critical care admissions (from median 4 [IQR 2-8] to 5 days [IQR 2-10]), and reduced in-hospital mortality (from 24.9 to 18.1%). We identified 12 independent predictors of in-hospital death which when used together showed good discrimination between patients who die and those who survive (AUC = 0.79). CONCLUSIONS: Admissions with neurological infection to UK critical care services are increasing and the mortality, although improving, remains high. To further improve outcomes from severe neurological infection, novel approaches to the evaluation of risk stratification, monitoring and management strategies are required.


Crick (Grant ID: CC1283, Grant title: Crick legacy study CC1283)