Craniopharyngiomas are defined by the WHO as “benign” tumours, but their location and surgical treatment may be associated with major complications, one being chemical meningitis. Although rare, especially in children, it should be taken into account when worrying symptoms appear after surgery.
The aim of this study is to present the case of chemical meningitis in a 7-year-old girl. She was admitted to the Department of Neurology with the following symptoms: headache, vomiting and balance disorders. Brain magnetic resonance imaging showed a tumour in the sellar and suprasellar region, which was diagnosed as a craniopharyngioma. Due to acute hydrocephalus the patient underwent emergency surgery. Conventional surgery was preceded by an endocrinological consultation to determine pituitary hormone levels. The first 6 days post-surgery, during which the patient started substitution therapy for pituitary insufficiency, were uneventful but on the seventh day she presented with seizures, fever, severe headache, weakness, irritability, stiffening of the neck and a gradual degradation of consciousness. This clinical presentation suggested meningitis, which was confirmed by examination of cerebrospinal fluid.
The conventional and/or endoscopic resection of a craniopharyngioma poses a risk of postoperative complications in the form of chemical meningitis. Although this is a rare occurrence in children with craniopharyngioma, physicians should be aware of this complication and its clinical presentation as it may facilitate earlier diagnosis, appropriate treatment and a faster recovery of their patients.