Study protocol: The Dutch 20 vertical bar 30 Postmeningitis study: a cross-sectional follow-up of two historical childhood bacterial meningitis cohorts on long-term outcomes

O. El Tahir*, R. C. J. de Jonge, S. Ouburg, S. A. Morre, A. M. van Furth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Bacterial meningitis (BM) is a serious, life-threatening infectious disease of the central nervous system that often occurs in young children. The most common severe to moderate sequelae following BM are sensorineural hearing loss, neuromotor disabilities and mental retardation, while subtle sequelae include academic and behavioral disabilities. It is largely unknown whether these more subtle sequelae persist into adolescence and adulthood. Therefore, this study will investigate the very long-term effects of childhood BM in later life. Better understanding of long-term effects and early identification of adverse outcomes after BM are essential for more timely interventions. Additionally, certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are associated with disease severity and might predict adverse sequelae. These include SNPs in genes encoding for pathogen recognition and immune response upon infection. Accordingly, a secondary objective of this study is to investigate the role of genetic variation in BM and use any insights to predict short- and long-term outcomes.

Methods: In the Dutch 20 vertical bar 30 Postmeningitis study, adolescents and young adults (n = 947) from two historical cohorts with a prior episode of BM during childhood will be enrolled into a cross-sectional follow-up investigation using mainly questionnaires that examine executive and behavioral functioning, health-related quality of life, subjective hearing, mood and sleeping disorders, academic performance, and economic self-sufficiency. The results will be compared to normative data by one-sample t-tests. Multivariable regression analysis will be used to assess for any associations with causative pathogens and severity of BM. Participants that complete the questionnaires will be approached to provide a swab for buccal DNA and subsequent sequencing analyses. Logistic regression models will be used to predict sequelae.

Discussion: The unique follow-up duration of this cohort will enable us to gain insights into the possible very long-term adverse effects of childhood BM and how these might impact on quality of life. The investigation of host genetic factors will contribute to the development of prediction models which will serve as prognostic tools to identify children who are at high risk of adverse outcome after BM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number519
Number of pages8
JournalBmc Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2019


  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Children
  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms
  • Sequelae
  • Central nervous system
  • Infection
  • Hearing loss

Cite this