International Orthopaedics

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 239–244 | Cite as

Management of infectious discitis. Outcome in one hundred and eight patients in a University Hospital

  • Juan Luis Cebrián Parra
  • Alvaro Saez-Arenillas Martín
  • Antonio L. Urda Martínez-Aedo
  • Isabel Soler Ivañez
  • Emilio Agreda
  • Luis Lopez-Duran Stern
Original Paper



The optimal management of pyogenic discitis is not agreed on. We conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional, observational study in which all patients with discitis who attended Hospital San Carlos Madrid from January 1999 to January 2009 were included.


We identified 108 consecutive adult patients with infectious discitis. There were 49 men and 59 women with an average age of 67,5 (+/- 16,89) years in the study group. Mean follow-up interval was 6,06 (12,5-2) years. 78 patients had spontaneous discitis and 30 patients had postoperative discitis. Inclusion criteria for the review were illness compatible with vertebral infection and / or evidence of spinal involvement on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


In 56 percutaneous discal biopsy (52% patients) were positive in 28 cases. A single disc was infected in 100 patients. The segments involved were the cervical spine in four, the thoracic spine in 38 and the lumbar spine in 66. One or more comorbid diseases were present in 73 (68%) of 108 patients. Diabetes mellitus was the most common disease. Comorbid disease was rapidly fatal in four patients, ultimately fatal in seven patients, and nonfatal or not present in 97 patients (90 %).


Early diagnosis is a major challenge. Heightened awareness and the prompt use of MRI are necessary to avoid diagnostic delay. Prolonged antimicrobial therapy and the judicious application of timely surgical intervention are essential for an optimal outcome.


Brucellosis Comorbid Disease Percutaneous Biopsy Nerve Root Compression Discitis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Luis Cebrián Parra
    • 1
  • Alvaro Saez-Arenillas Martín
    • 1
  • Antonio L. Urda Martínez-Aedo
    • 1
  • Isabel Soler Ivañez
    • 1
  • Emilio Agreda
    • 2
  • Luis Lopez-Duran Stern
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics & TraumatologyHospital Clínico San CarlosMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineHospital Clínico San CarlosMadridSpain

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