What Is Brain Abscess?

Brain abscess is a bacterial infection that results in a build up of pus in the brain, as well as swelling of the organ. This condition is common after bacteria or fungi enter the brain tissue due to head injury or infection in other tissues. Although rare, a brain abscess is an infectious disease that can be life-threatening and should be dealt with as soon as possible. Anyone can experience it, but this risk is generally increased in people with a history of the disease such as:
  • HIV / AIDS, cancer, and chronic diseases.
  • Infections of the middle ear ( otitis media ).
  • Sinusitis
  • Congenital heart disease (PJB), such as tetralogy of fallot (ToF) .
  • Meningitis .
In addition, the risk of a brain abscess is also quite high in a person who has severe head injury or skull fracture, had an organ transplant, was taking immunosuppressive drugs, or was undergoing chemotherapy.

Causes of Brain Abscess
The main cause of brain abscess is the presence of bacterial or fungal infections that enter the brain tissue, because the immune system can not fight it. Actually the body is equipped with an immune system that serves to maintain important organs. But in certain cases, germs can enter through the blood vessels and attack the brain. Infections that enter the brain will accumulate in the brain tissue and form pus clots.

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Certain diseases that may cause brain abscess are:
  • Heart disease cyanotic. One type of congenital heart disease that causes the heart is unable to drain oxygen throughout the body and trigger the occurrence of infection.
  • Pulmonary arteriovenous fistulas . Abnormalities that occur in pulmonary blood vessels, resulting in bacteria into the blood and flow into the brain.
  • Tooth abscess .
  • Infection. These conditions include pulmonary infections (eg pneumonia ), heart infections (eg endocarditis ), infections in the abdominal cavity (eg peritonitis ), pelvic infections (eg cystitis ), and skin infections.

Symptoms of Brain Abscess
Symptoms of a brain abscess are usually felt within weeks of infection, or sometimes directly. Here are a series of symptoms that can occur:
  • Dizzy is great.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • High fever (above 38 C).
  • Shivering.
  • Changes in behavior, such as feeling restless or confused.
  • The neck felt stiff.
  • Convulsions.
  • Decreased ability to feel sensation, move muscles, or speak.
  • Impaired vision, such as double vision, blurring, or blur.
  • Sensitive to light.

As for some symptoms that can be seen if your baby or child has a brain abscess, including:
  • Gag.
  • Crying with high notes.
  • Muscles look stiff.

Immediately see a doctor if symptoms continue to be felt, especially for those who experience sudden seizures, speech begins not clear, muscle weakened, or paralyzed.

Diagnosis of Brain Abscess
In the early stages of the diagnosis, the doctor will perform a physical examination while analyzing the patient's symptoms and medical history. Further examination will also be conducted to confirm the diagnosis, including:
  • Neurological examination , which includes movement of muscles, nervous system, and sensory.
  • Blood test , to check if there is a certain infection.
  • Scanning , to see the location of inflammation or swelling. Scans include X-rays, CT scans, EEGs, or MRIs.
  • Lumbar puncture. Sampling of cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal cavity to check if there are certain bacteria. This can not be done if the patient has severe brain swelling, because it can make the pressure in the brain worse.
If advanced test results can not identify the cause and source of the infection, your doctor may suggest a biopsy.

Brain Abscess Treatment
Brain abscess is an emergency and needs to be addressed immediately. Treatment is usually performed in the hospital by administration of antibiotic or antifungal drugs until the patient enters a stable stage. Occasionally, diuretic medications may also be prescribed. However, if the patient's condition is bad enough, the doctor may suggest surgery.

The following are the criteria of a brain abscess treated with medication:
  • Abscess size smaller than 2 cm.
  • Abscesses are at some point.
  • The abscess lies in the deepest part of the brain.
  • Patients have meningitis.
  • Hydrocephalus occurs.
  • Toxoplasmosis in people with HIV or AIDS.
If the patient has an abscess measuring over 2cm, risk breaking inside the brain or having an element of gas in it, the ordinary doctor will suggest to raise it through surgery. There are 2 types of commonly used actions, namely simple aspiration and craniotomy.

Simple aspiration is done by drilling a small hole (or so-called burr hole) on the skull so that pus can be removed. This is usually done with the help of a CT scan tool to ascertain the point of the abscess. This operation tends to take a short time, which is about 1 hour.

If medication or simple aspiration measures do not help, craniotomy action will be performed. In this action, the doctor will cut a small amount of hair on the scalp and lift a small part of the skull bone ( flap ) to open access to the brain. Then, the abscess will be removed completely after the pus is cleaned and the bone flap will be restored to its original position when the action is completed. CT scans are also used to help doctors relocate the abscess point. This operation will take a longer time, which is about 3 hours. After this surgery, the patient needs a full rest for 6-12 weeks.

Some complications, though rare, can occur after craniotomy surgery, such as swelling or bruising on the face, dizziness for months, blood clots in the brain, jaws stiffening, or feeling a shift in bone flap . Routine control is necessary to reduce the risk of such complications.

It is recommended to avoid activities that are considered harmful to the skull bones after surgery is performed, such as playing football or boxing. Patients are also not allowed to drive until the doctor allows, to anticipate the occurrence of sudden seizures.

Brain Abscess Complications
If not treated properly, the following complications of brain abscess may occur:
  • Abscess recurrence.
  • Moderate to severe brain damage.
  • Epilepsy or convulsions.
  • Meningitis, especially in children.
  • Otitis media (middle ear infection).
  • Sinusitis (sinus infection).
  • Mastoiditis (bone infection behind the ears).
Brain Abscess Prevention
Given that a brain abscess is often triggered by a particular disease, it is advisable to check regularly to prevent this condition as early as possible.

For those suffering from cardiac abnormalities, doctors will usually give a series of antibiotics before performing dental treatment or other measures to prevent the risk of infection spreading to the brain. It is recommended to always notify your doctor before taking any medical action during a brain abscess treatment.

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