Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Communicating hydrocephalus may complicate infantile bacterial meningitis, typically presenting with systemic features of infection. We report a rare case of 'subclinical meningoventriculitis' causing obstructive hydrocephalus and its challenging management. A healthy 10-week-old immunocompetent male patient presented with failure to thrive and vomiting, secondary to presumed gastro-oesophageal reflux. The child was neurologically alert, afebrile with normal inflammatory markers. Progressive macrocephaly prompted an MRI confirming triventricular hydrocephalus secondary to aqueductal stenosis. An endoscopic third ventriculostomy was performed however abandoned intraoperatively due to the unexpected finding of intraventricular purulent cerebrospinal fluid. A 6-week course of intravenous ceftriaxone was commenced for Escherichia coli meningoventriculitis. However, the child was readmitted 18 days postoperatively with acute hydrocephalus requiring a ventricular washout and staged ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion at 4 weeks. Serial head circumference measurements are paramount in the assessment of a paediatric patient. In an immunocompetent child, a subclinical fibropurulent meningoventriculitis can result in several management challenges.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Case Rep

Publication Date





failure to thrive, hydrocephalus, infant health, infection (neurology), meningitis, Amoxicillin, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Ceftriaxone, Cerebral Ventriculitis, Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts, Humans, Hydrocephalus, Infant, Newborn, Injections, Male, Meningoencephalitis, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Treatment Outcome, Ureter, Urinary Tract Infections, Ventriculostomy