Quality statement 6: CSF microscopy for suspected bacterial meningitis

Quality statement

Children and young people with suspected bacterial meningitis have their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) microscopy result available within 4 hours of lumbar puncture.

Quality measure

Structure: Evidence of local arrangements for children and young people with suspected bacterial meningitis to have their CSF microscopy result available within 4 hours of lumbar puncture.

Process: Proportion of children and young people with suspected bacterial meningitis who have their CSF microscopy result available within 4 hours of lumbar puncture.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who have their CSF microscopy result available within 4 hours of lumbar puncture.

Denominator – the number of children and young people with suspected bacterial meningitis who have had a lumbar puncture.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers ensure systems are in place for children and young people with suspected bacterial meningitis to have their CSF microscopy result available within 4 hours of lumbar puncture.

Healthcare professionals ensure children and young people with suspected bacterial meningitis have their CSF microscopy result available within 4 hours of lumbar puncture.

Commissioners ensure they commission services for children and young people with suspected bacterial meningitis to have their CSF microscopy result available within 4 hours of lumbar puncture.

Children and young people with suspected bacterial meningitis have the results of their lumbar puncture within 4 hours of the procedure being done.

Data source

Structure: Local data collection.

Process: Local data collection. Contained within the baseline assessment for the NICE guideline on meningitis (bacterial) and meningococcal septicaemia in under 16s.

Definitions

CSF microscopy provides the CSF white blood cell count, which is the most important investigation for a diagnosis of meningitis. Samples should also be routinely processed for total protein and glucose concentrations.

It is important that samples are processed rapidly given that white cell counts decrease significantly with time.

[NICE's guideline on meningitis (bacterial) and meningococcal septicaemia in under 16s, recommendation 1.3.20]