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Medicina (Buenos Aires)

versión impresa ISSN 0025-7680versión On-line ISSN 1669-9106


PERROTTI, Pedro P.; CORRALES, José L.  y  POPESCU, Bogdan M.. Pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis. Medicina (B. Aires) [online]. 2009, vol.69, n.5, pp.513-518. ISSN 0025-7680.

Pyogenic osteomyelitis seldom affects the spine (2-7%). It is diagnosed by the isolation of a bacterial agent in the vertebral body, the intervertebral disks or from paravertebral or epidural abscesses. We report a retrospective study of ten patients who attended a medical clinic with this disease to emphasize its unusual presentation and difficult diagnosis. Lumbar and dorsal spine were the most common sites affected. Dorsolumbar pain and paraparesis were the most frequent symptoms. Staphylococcus aureus were isolated in eight patients, Escherichia coli in one and Haemophilus sp. in other Leukocytosis was observed in only three patients. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate was higher than 100 mm in the first hour in two patients. Typical images of pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis were observed in all these patients with magnetic resonance imaging. The main complications were paravertebral and epidural abscesses that were found in five patients. One patient also presented an empyema, seven of them initially received empiric medical treatment, and later specific antibiotics according to the culture and sensitivity results. The rest of the patients were initially treated according to the sensitivity of the isolated germ. Surgical intervention was performed in two patients to drain soft tissue involvement, and in two other to stabilize the spine. All four surgical patients had a full recovery. This report is intended to point out that in patients with dorsolumbar pain and neurological symptoms pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis is a possible diagnosis and has to be treated without delay.

Palabras clave : Pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis; Lumbar pain; Epidural abscess; Paravertebral abscess.

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