Subdural empyema in 10 infants: US characteristics and clinical correlates

Cheng Yu Chen, Chao Ching Huang, Ying Chao Chang, Nan Haw Chow, Chung Ching Chio, Robert A. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: To investigate the ultrasonographic (US) characteristics of subdural empyema (SDE) and its differentiation from reactive subdural effusion (RSE) in infants with meningitis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Images in 10 infants with SDE with or without RSE complicating meningitis were retrospectively reviewed and correlated with clinical findings and compared with US and magnetic resonance (MR) images in four infants with meningitis and RSE. RESULTS: At US, 15 of 16 SDEs in the 10 infants were seen as heterogeneous to hyperechoic convexity collections. Hyperechoic strands were seen in 12 SDEs. Other findings included a thick, echogenic inner membrane (n = 9), increased echogenicity of pia-arachnoid and exudates in the subarachnoid space (n = 16), mass effect (n = 16), and loculated extraaxial collections (n = 2). MR imaging findings correlated well with US and surgical results. At computed tomography, SDE was misinterpreted as RSE in one patient due to the absence of inner membrane contrast material enhancement clinical outcome was related to the degree of brain damage consequent to meningitis and the chronicity of SDE. RSEs in seven infants (three with concurrent SDE) were anechoic; an inner membrane was seen in six and increased pia-arachnoid echogenicity was seen in four. CONCLUSIONS: SDE has complex US features that are helpful for differentiation from anechoic in infants with meningitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-617
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Abscess, subdural, 136.256
  • Meninges, MR, 139.121411, 139.12143
  • Meninges, US, 139.12981
  • Meningitis, 139.251, 136.256
  • Ultrasound (US), in infants and children, 139.12981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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