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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 126-127
Acute osteomyelitis: It is still here

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital of Laredo, 39770 Laredo, Spain
2 Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases Section, University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, 39008 Santander, Cantabria, Spain

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Date of Web Publication9-Aug-2017

How to cite this article:
Carrascosa MF, Fernández-Ayala M, Salcines-Caviedes JR, Fernández-Sampedro M. Acute osteomyelitis: It is still here. J Global Infect Dis 2017;9:126-7

How to cite this URL:
Carrascosa MF, Fernández-Ayala M, Salcines-Caviedes JR, Fernández-Sampedro M. Acute osteomyelitis: It is still here. J Global Infect Dis [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Aug 12];9:126-7. Available from:


A 14-year-old immunocompetent teenager presented with a 5-day history of high fever and persistent pain in his left knee. Clinical examination revealed small facial pustules and exquisite tenderness on palpation of the medial aspect of his left knee and distal thigh. A radiograph of the left lower limb was normal [Figure 1]a, and the serum C-reactive protein (CRP) level was increased to 271 mg/L (normal level <5). Left femur magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) displayed a “rat bite-like” appearance which was most consistent with the diagnosis of acute osteomyelitis (AO) [Figure 1]b. Blood cultures were obtained, and he was started on intravenous cloxacillin. Although methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus grew from the blood cultures, surgical draining and biopsy of his left femur were performed on hospital day 9 because of unremitting pain and fever. Bone samples grew the same microorganism, and pathological study confirmed the diagnosis. Moreover, echocardiogram ruled out endocarditis. Postoperative course was uneventful, and there was steady but slow clinical improvement until discharge when antibiotic treatment was switched to oral clindamycin. The patient was discharged fully recovered and with normalized CRP level on day 30. At a follow-up visit 5 and 10 months after discharge, he remained symptomless.
Figure 1: Radiographical assessment of acute osteomyelitis. Plain radiography of the left lower extremity reveals normal characteristics (a; lateral view of the knee). Magnetic resonance imaging study shows heterogeneous enhancement in the T1-weighted postcontrast sequence with fat suppression (b; white arrows, intraosseous abscesses; black arrows, subperiosteal abscess)

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The present case may serve to highlight some relevant features when dealing with AO. First, the fact that a normal plain radiography by no means rules out AO. Second, the striking differences that exist between plain radiograph and MRI in this setting. Third, the role of MRI as the best imaging method for the diagnosis and assessment of the extent of AO.[1],[2] In this regard, most MR images of femurs from children with AO do not show the type of picture we present, bone marrow edema being probably the most common finding. In contrast, using MRI to gauge, treatment duration/response is not advised in most circumstances of osteomyelitis. On the other hand, it is worth noting that the choice of an early empiric antibiotic agent for AO depends mainly on the local prevalence of community-associated methicillin-resistant  S.aureus Scientific Name Search  (MRSA): intravenous nafcillin/oxacillin or cefazolin if <10% of the community S.aureus isolates are methicillin-resistant (as in our area) and intravenous either vancomycin or clindamycin if ≥10% of the community S.aureus isolates are methicillin-resistant.[3],[4],[5] Then, how soon the switch from intravenous to oral medication may safely be achieved has not been definitely established. However, patients with uncomplicated not-MRSA disease can be switched to oral therapy after they have demonstrated clinical improvement and CRP decrease, which usually occurs within the first 10 days of intravenous treatment. Finally, this case reminds a disorder that unless is diagnosed promptly and treated appropriately may be a devastating disease with a high rate of sequelae.[1] Consequently, AO should be considered in any patient who presents with fever and a limp or painful area (limb, back, pelvis, etc.), inability to walk (mainly children), or redness and swelling around a long bone.[1]

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   References Top

Peltola H, Pääkkönen M. Acute osteomyelitis in children. N Engl J Med 2014;370:352-60.  Back to cited text no. 1
Pugmire BS, Shailam R, Gee MS. Role of MRI in the diagnosis and treatment of osteomyelitis in pediatric patients. World J Radiol 2014;6:530-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Liu C, Bayer A, Cosgrove SE, Daum RS, Fridkin SK, Gorwitz RJ, et al. Clinical practice guidelines by the infectious diseases society of America for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in adults and children. Clin Infect Dis 2011;52:e18-55.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kaplan SL. Osteomyelitis in children. Infect Dis Clin North Am 2005;19:787-97, vii.  Back to cited text no. 4
Krogstad P. Hematogenous Osteomyelitis in Children: Management. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 Sep 30].  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Miguel F Carrascosa
Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital of Laredo, Avda Derechos Humanos s/n, 39770 Laredo, Cantabria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-777X.212578

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