UMEM Educational Pearls

Rapid detection of bacterial meningitis using point-of-care glucometer

  • CSF:blood glucose ratio is a useful characteristic in differentiating bacterial meningitis from viral meningitis. 
  • Normal CSF glucose is at least 2/3 of serum glucose level.
  • In bacterial meningitis, CSF:blood glucose ratio is usually <0.4
  • Rousseau et al. conducted a study comparing CSF:blood glucose ratio obtained using a bedside glucometer with the laboratory.
  • They found the optimal cutoff of CSF:blood glucose ratio using a bedside glucometer is 0.46 compared to 0.44 using the laboratory.
  • This proof-of-concept study suggests that a point-of-care glucometer can be used for rapid diagnosis of abnormal CSF:blood glucose ratio in the evaluation of meningitis.


Rousseau G, Asmolov R, Grammatico-Guillon L, et al. Rapid detection of bacterial meningitis using a point-of-care glucometer. Eur J Emerg Med 2017 Aug 10. [Epub ahead of print]
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