Acute intracranial infections of the central nervous system and skull base are uncommon but time sensitive diagnoses that may present to the emergency department. As symptoms are frequently nonspecific or lack typical features of an infectious process, a high index of suspicion is required to confidently make the diagnosis, and imaging may not only serve as the first clue to an intracranial infection, but is often necessary to completely characterize the disease process and exclude any confounding conditions. Although computed tomography is typically the initial imaging modality for many of these patients, magnetic resonance imaging offers greater sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing intracranial infections, characterizing the full extent of infection, and identifying potential complications. The aim of this article is to serve as a review of the typical and most important imaging manifestations of these infections that can be encountered in the emergent setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging