A subdural effusion is a collection of fluid trapped between the surface of the brain and the outer lining of the brain (the dura matter). If this fluid becomes infected, the condition is called a subdural empyema.
Surgery to drain the effusion is often necessary. Rarely, a permanent drainage device (shunt) is needed to drain fluid. Antibiotics may need to be given through a vein.
Full recovery from a subdural effusion is expected. If neurological problems continue, they are generally due to the meningitis, not the effusion. Long-term use of antibiotics is usually not necessary.
Complications from surgery include:
- Brain damage
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if:
- Your child has recently been treated for meningitis and symptoms continue
- New symptoms develop
Koshy A, Roos K. Infections of the nervous system: bacterial and fungal. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 53C.
Swartz MN, Nath A. Meningitis: bacterial, viral, and other. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 420.
Review Date 9/3/2014
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.