Emergent Decompression of Intracranial Abscess in Eisenmenger Syndrome

Amanda Munoz Casabella, Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Christopher R. Marcellino, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Alejandro A. Rabinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Eisenmenger syndrome is a rare sequela of uncorrected congenital heart disease complicated by pulmonary hypertension, from which reversal of the pathologic left-to-right cardiovascular shunt and cyanosis follow. Right-to-left shunting can lead to paradoxical cerebral emboli—increasing the risk of spontaneous or iatrogenic stroke and cerebral abscess. Case Description: A 38-year-old man presented with new focal seizures due to a brain abscess. Ventricular septal defect and pulmonary hypertension were identified. Despite dexamethasone and broad-spectrum antibiotics, he developed hemiparesis and altered mental status and required emergent stereotactic abscess drainage. Despite the anesthetic hazards of Eisenmenger syndrome, the procedure was successful and the patient recovered completely. Conclusions: Noncardiac perioperative mortality in Eisenmenger syndrome is historically reported up to 19%, and risks are further increased with prolonged case duration or hypotension, mandating vigilant attention to volume status. Correspondingly, shorter- or lower-risk procedures such as stereotactic drainage are recommended. Procedures should be performed only at centers with expertise in management of Eisenmenger syndrome and cardiac-specialized anesthesiologists whenever possible. Although a conservative approach with early, aggressive medical management is preferred, operative intervention may be required in the setting of progressive deterioration and excellent postoperative outcomes are achievable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-137
Number of pages5
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Brain abscess
  • CHD
  • Cerebral abscess
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Eisenmenger syndrome
  • VSD
  • Ventricular septal defect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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