Long-term cognitive functioning in children and adolescents who survived septic shock caused by Neisseria meningitidis

Lindy Vermunt, Corinne Buysse, Femke Aarsen, Coriene Catsman - Berrevoets, Hugo Duivenvoorden, Koen Joosten, Jan Hazelzet, Frank Verhulst, Lisbeth Utens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Aims. To assess long-term cognitive functioning and its predictors, in children and adolescents who survived meningococcal septic shock (MSS) 4 to 16 years ago. Methods. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - third edition was used to measure intellectual functioning and neuropsychological tests were used to measure attention, verbal memory, visual-motor integration, and executive skills. Results. Overall, results of the total MSS sample (N = 77) as to neuropsychological functioning were similar to those of normative reference groups. On social and practical reasoning and visual-motor integration, however, MSS children obtained poorer outcomes compared to normative data. Two children had mental retardation (estimated IQ < 70) due to the MSS. The percentage of children with mental retardation or borderline intellectual functioning (15%) was similar to that in the general population (16%). Eighteen children (23%) had a z score < -22, indicating unusual poor functioning, on one or more domains of neuropsychological functioning (selective attention, sustained attention, and executive functioning). Compared to normative data, significantly more children had received special education services in the past. Older age at time of follow-up was the most important significant predictor of poorer long-term cognitive functioning. Conclusion. Overall, long-term outcomes as to cognitive functioning of the total MSS sample were similar to those of normative reference groups, but MSS children showed long-term impairments on social and practical reasoning, visual-motor integration, attention, and executive functioning. Older age at time of follow-up was a significant predictor.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Research programs

  • EMC MM-04-44-02
  • EMC NIHES-04-55-01
  • EMC OR-02-54-06

Cite this