Antibiotics for brain abscesses in people with cyanotic congenital heart disease

Serious congenital heart disease leads to abnormal blood flow through the heart and lungs. This results in an inability to carry enough oxygen around the body which makes patients blue (cyanotic) and severely limits their physical activity. People with cyanotic congenital heart disease are at risk of developing brain abscess. This condition is serious and can lead to death because the abscess causes abnormal brain function. Treatment includes antibiotic therapy to kill the bacteria that cause the infection. In people with a large abscess, an operation to drain the abscess may be carried out. Antibiotic therapy for brain abscess should include drugs that penetrate into the abscess cavity. The drugs chosen should also be matched to the sensitivity of the bacteria obtained from the abscess in laboratory culture. There is no evidence from randomized controlled trials to show the best antibiotic regimen for treating people with cyanotic congenital heart disease who develop brain abscess.

Authors' conclusions: 

There are no randomized controlled trials about the effectiveness of antibiotic regimens for treating people with cyanotic congenital heart disease who developed a brain abscess. Currently, the antibiotic regimens used are based on previous retrospective studies and clinical experience. There is a need for a well designed multicentre randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effects of different antibiotic regimens.

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Background: 

Brain abscess is a focal, intracerebral infection that begins as a localized area of brain infection and develops into a collection of pus surrounded by a well-vascularized capsule. People with cyanotic congenital heart disease are at risk of developing brain abscess.

Objectives: 

To evaluate the effectiveness of antibiotic regimens for treating brain abscess in people with cyanotic congenital heart disease.

Search strategy: 

We updated the searches of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) on The Cochrane Library Issue 12 of 12, December 2012, MEDLINE Ovid (1946 to December Week 4 2012), EMBASE Ovid (1980 to 2013 Week 01) and LILACS (1980 to 9 January 2013) on 9 January 2013. No language or publication restrictions were applied.

Selection criteria: 

Randomized controlled trials that reported clinically meaningful outcomes and presented results on an intention to treat basis, irrespective of blinding, publication status, or language.

Data collection and analysis: 

Data were to be extracted, unblinded, by the two reviewers independently.

Main results: 

No studies meeting the inclusion criteria were identified.

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