The treatment of brain abscess remains a challenging topic usually involving a multimodal concept. We report our experience with hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy in five children presenting with brain abscesses between 1995 and 2002 at the Department of Neurosurgery, Graz. Mean age was 14.8 (range 11-17 years). All abscesses were located supratentorially. One child had a single abscess and one had multilocated abscesses. Two other patients presented with both subdural empyema and brain abscess, one of them showing an epidural empyema as well. In another child, the brain abscess was associated with meningoencephalitis and subdural empyema. In all of them the underlying condition was spread of infection from the paranasal sinuses, except for one, who was immunocompromised due to cytotoxic chemotherapy for acute lymphocytic leukaemia. One single brain abscess and one of the multiple abscesses were drained. All subdural/epidural empyemas were treated surgically. Antibiotics were administered intravenously for 13 to 22 days (mean 22 days). All patients underwent HBO therapy; the number of treatments ranged from 26 to 45 "dives" (mean 30). Treatments were given once daily at 2.2 atmosphere absolutes for 60 min at 12 m. During the hospital stay all improved their clinical condition, with continued regression of abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In the following weeks, other interventions were performed to treat the origin of the infections. At 6 months follow-up they were all in good clinical condition, either symptom free or with minor residual symptoms. MRI at this time showed no evidence of disease in three, a residual dural enhancement in one and a residual shrunken collection in the child with multilocated abscesses. No recurrence was observed during a mean follow-up of 21 months (range from 7 to 72 months). HBO therapy in children with brain abscesses seems to be safe and effective, even when they are associated with subdural or epidural empyemas. It provides a helpful adjuvant tool in the usual multimodal treatment of cerebral infections and may reduce the intravenous course of antibiotics and, consequently, the duration of hospitalization. Multidisciplinary management is recommended to optimize care for these critically ill children.

Kurschel, Mohia, Weigl, Eder, , , , , (2006). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of brain abscess in children. Child’s nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery, 2006 Jan;22(1):38-42. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15875200