In this study, we recorded and analyzed the growth data of 40 children with acute meningitis (age 5.8 ± 3.1 years) for a year or more after treatment, and compared them with their age and sex matched healthy siblings (n = 100). None of the patients had any meningitis complications that could affect linear growth. None of them were underweight and/or stunted for one year or more after treatment. The height standard deviation scores (HtSDS) of patients decreased significantly from -0.06 ± 0.95 at the onset of meningitis to -0.46 ± 1 after a year or more of follow-up and were significantly lower than those for their normal siblings (controls) (0.31 ± 0.5). Fifteen out of the 40 patients had decreased HtSDS > -0.5, while 3 had decreased HtSDS > -1 after > 1 year of follow-up. The body mass index (BMI) of patients significantly increased after 1 year or more of the acute attack, but did not differ from the BMI for the controls. One patient and none of the controls had BMISDS > 2 at presentation. Furthermore, 5/40 patients and 2/100 children from the control group had BMISDS > 2 after 1 year or more of follow-up. The HtSDS decreased and BMI increased significantly in both groups with septic (n = 10) and aseptic meningitis (n = 30) with no significant difference among the 2 groups. It was concluded that long term growth delay and overweight and/or obesity appear to be risk factors following an acute attack of both septic and aseptic meningitis.
Key words: Meningitis, pituitary dysfunction, body mass index, growth.
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