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Journal of Bone and Joint Infection An open-access journal of the European Bone and Joint Infection Society and the MusculoSkeletal Infection Society
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Volume 5, issue 2
J. Bone Joint Infect., 5, 67–75, 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
J. Bone Joint Infect., 5, 67–75, 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Original full-length article 26 Mar 2020

Original full-length article | 26 Mar 2020

Outcomes, Microbiology and Antimicrobial Usage in Pressure Ulcer-Related Pelvic Osteomyelitis: Messages for Clinical Practice

Clark D. Russell1,2, Shao-Ting Jerry Tsang2,3, Alasdair Hamish R.3, and Rebecca K. Sutherland1 Clark D. Russell et al.
  • 1NHS Lothian Infection Service, Regional Infectious Diseases Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, U.K.
  • 2University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, Queen's Medical Research Institute, Edinburgh BioQuarter, Edinburgh, U.K.
  • 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Edinburgh, Chancellor's Building, Edinburgh, U.K.

Keywords: osteomyelitis, pressure ulcer, pelvis, spinal cord injuries

Abstract. Introduction: Pressure ulcer-related pelvic osteomyelitis is a relatively under-studied entity in the field of bone infection. We sought to add to the limited evidence base for managing this challenging syndrome.

Methods: Cases were identified retrospectively from a surgical database and hospital discharge codes at a U.K. tertiary centre (2009-2018). Risk factors associated with outcomes were analysed by logistic regression.

Results: We identified 35 patients (mean age 57.4 years), 69% managed with a combined medical and surgical approach, with mean follow-up of 3.7 years from index admission. Treatment failure (requiring further surgery or intravenous antimicrobials) occurred in 71% and eventual ulcer healing in 36%. One-year mortality was 23%. Lack of formal care support on discharge, post-traumatic (asensate) neurological deficit and index CRP (>184mg/L) were associated with treatment failure (p=0.001). Age (>59.5 years), lack of attempted soft tissue coverage, haemoglobin (<111g/L) and albumin (<25g/L) were associated with non-healing ulcers (p=0.003). Superficial wound swabs had low sensitivity and specificity compared to deep bone microbiology. Infection (based on deep bone microbiology from 46 infection episodes) was usually polymicrobial (87%), commonly involving S. aureus, Enterococci, GNB and anaerobes. Antimicrobial duration ranged from 0-103 days (mean 54) and was not associated with subsequent treatment failure.

Conclusions: Attempted soft tissue coverage after surgical debridement, ensuring appropriate support for personal care after discharge and nutritional optimisation could improve outcomes. Superficial wound swabs are uninformative and deep bone sampling should be pursued. Long antimicrobial courses do not improve outcomes. Clinicians should engage patients in anticipatory care planning.

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