What are signs of meningeal irritation?

Meningism—a clinical syndrome of signs and symptoms that are suggestive of meningeal irritation. Symptoms may include headache, photophobia, neck stiffness and seizures. Signs may include nuchal rigidity, Kernig’s sign, Brudzinski’s sign or jolt accentuation headache.

How do you assess for bacterial meningitis?

For a definitive diagnosis of meningitis, you’ll need a spinal tap to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In people with meningitis, the CSF often shows a low sugar (glucose) level along with an increased white blood cell count and increased protein.

How do you check for meningeal symptoms?

Place patient supine with hip flexed at 90 degrees. Attempt to extend the leg at the knee. The test is positive when there is resistance to extension at the knee to >135 degrees or pain in the lower back or posterior thigh. Place patient in the supine position and passively flex the head toward the chest.

What meningeal signs do you know?


  • Sudden high fever.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Severe headache that seems different from normal.
  • Headache with nausea or vomiting.
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating.
  • Seizures.
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking.
  • Sensitivity to light.

What causes meningeal irritation?

Causes: Infectious meningitis (bacterial or viral), subarachnoid hemorrhage, neoplasms of the brain and meninges, extensive stroke affecting an area adjacent to the spaces with cerebrospinal fluid.

What is the neck test for meningitis?

The bottom line A lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, is a common and more effective way to diagnose a person with meningitis. Other diagnostic tools include CT imaging and blood cultures.

How do nurses assess for meningitis?

Place your patient in a supine position. Assess for nuchal rigidity (neck pain and resistance to flexion), which may signal meningeal inflammation or a mechanical problem. Repeat your assessment on the other side. If pain and resistance to knee extension are bilateral, meningeal irritation may be present.

What are the nursing interventions for meningitis?

Nursing Interventions

  • Monitor vital signs and neurological signs.
  • Assess for signs of increasing ICP.
  • Initiate seizure precautions.
  • Monitor for seizure activity.
  • Monitor for signs of meningeal irritation.
  • Perform cranial nerve assessment.
  • Assess peripheral vascular status.
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