Post-traumatic meningitis is a dreadful condition that presents additional challenges, in terms of both diagnosis and management, when compared with community-acquired cases. Post-traumatic meningitis refers to a meningeal infection causally related to a cranio-cerebral trauma, regardless of temporal proximity. The PICO (participants, intervention, control, and outcomes) question was as follows: “Is there an association between traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic meningitis?” The present systematic review was carried out according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review (PRISMA) standards. Studies examining post-traumatic meningitis, paying particular attention to victims of traumatic brain injury, were included. Post-traumatic meningitis represents a high mortality disease. Diagnosis may be difficult both because clinical signs are nonspecific and blurred and because of the lack of pathognomonic laboratory markers. Moreover, these markers increase with a rather long latency, thus not allowing a prompt diagnosis, which could improve patients’ outcome. Among all the detectable clinical signs, the appearance of cranial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage (manifesting as rhinorrhea or otorrhea) should always arouse suspicion of meningitis. On one hand, microbiological exams on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which represent the gold standard for the diagnosis, require days to get reliable results. On the other hand, radiological exams, especially CT of the brain, could represent an alternative for early diagnosis. An update on these issues is certainly of interest to focus on possible predictors of survival and useful tools for prompt diagnosis.
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