Managing of musculoskeletal infections in children

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OBJECTIVE: Epidemiological features of musculoskeletal infections are in continuous evolution. The incidence of emerging causative pathogen is arising. Nevertheless, up to 50% of osteoarticular infections shows negative cultures. Septic arthritis, with or without concurrent osteomyelitis, are most common in newborn while osteomyelitis frequently affects older patients. We retrospectively analyzed all the children affected by musculoskeletal infections treated at the Children's Hospital Bambino Gesù in ten years, focusing on the results of an early diagnostic and therapeutic management.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study population consists of 150 children with acute septic arthritis, osteomyelitis and discitis, treated from 2006 to 2016, excluding patients with less than 12 months of follow-up and previous treatment sustained in others hospitals. A wide spectrum of data has been extracted from clinical charts, laboratory studies and imaging. Patients were categorized into 3 groups on the base of their age. The diagnostic and therapeutic protocol consisted of intravenous empirical treatment while diagnosis was ongoing then switched to oral treatment, according to the pathogen and the systemic symptoms.

RESULTS: Only 31% of pathogens were identified. The most common was Staphylococcus aureus methicillin-sensible (MSSA) but an increase of cases caused by Kingella Kingae and Staphylococcus aureus methicillin-resistant (MRSA) was observed. The mean antibiotic treatment was 6.8 weeks. It's important to underline a significant correlation between age and C-reactive protein serum levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Among others frequent pathogens, MRSA shows a high rate of physis involvement. Musculoskeletal infections represent a challenge in skeletally immature patients because of their potential severe complications. Timing of diagnosis and consequent targeted treatment is fundamental to avoid complications and functional sequelae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number2 Suppl
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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