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In Papua New Guinea, Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii meningitis has a high fatality rate even in immunocompetent patients. Our retrospective study attempted to identify marker of poor prognosis. Of 88 immunocompetent patients, 30 (34.1%) died, usually soon after admission, and mortality was higher in men (p = 0.025) and older patients (p = 0.039). Death was associated with altered consciousness (p < 0.001), a history of convulsions prior to treatment (p = 0.002) and a maximum systolic blood pressure of > 150 mmHg (p = 0.017). These data suggest that death results from raised intracranial pressure and subsequent tentorial herniation. However, CSF opening pressure measured on admission was raised in 29/36 (81%) patients and did not predict outcome. In survivors, relapse was uncommon and was not predicted by discharge serum cryptococcal antigen titres, which were frequently raised on completion of therapy in asymptomatic patients. Mortality may be reduced if efforts are made to lower intracranial pressure in those patients who present with markers of poor prognosis.


Journal article



Publication Date





423 - 428


Adolescent, Adult, Antigens, Fungal, Cause of Death, Cryptococcus neoformans, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Intracranial Pressure, Male, Meningitis, Cryptococcal, Middle Aged, Papua New Guinea, Prospective Studies, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Survival Rate, Treatment Outcome