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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2019 August;63(4):379-87

DOI: 10.23736/S0390-5616.16.03779-6


language: English

Multidisciplinary management of spontaneous spinal infections: is there a correlation between timing, type of treatment and outcome?

Alessandro LANDI 1 , Alessandro DI BARTOLOMEO 1, Nicola MAROTTA 1, Giancarlo IAIANI 2, Maurizio DOMENICUCCI 1, Massimo CHIARA 1, Maurizio SALVATI 1, Roberto DELFINI 1

1 Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; 2 Department of Infectious and Tropical Disease, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy

BACKGROUND: Spontaneous spinal infections (SSIs) represent a rare and serious pathological entity. We tried to study a correlation between type of treatment, timing of treatment and clinical outcome through a multivariate analysis of an observational cohort study with the aim to define what is the optimal clinico-therapeutic management.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective observational cohort study on all consecutive patients observed in our Institute in a period of 13 years; from 2001 to 2014 we enrolled 50 consecutive patients with symptomatic spontaneous spinal infections (no previous surgery or recent infection in other site), confirmed with diagnostic imaging. The inclusion parameters were: diagnostic imaging, signs and symptoms positive for SSI, no history of recent infection or surgery. Of each parameter analyzed, we calculated mean and standard deviation and when necessary correlation (ρ), covariance (σ) and relation coefficient between type of treatment, timing of treatment and clinical outcome.
RESULTS: Our results suggest that an increase of one day from the onset of symptoms and the start of therapy leads to an increase in the Oswestry Disability Index Scale both at 6 months than at 1 year, with a statistical relevance, so our experience shows a statistically significant correlation and a positive co-variance between timing and outcome at 6 months and 1 year.
CONCLUSIONS: SSI are rare, very difficult to diagnose and represent a significant clinical problem. If not properly managed, they may lead to significant impact in the quality of life. The most relevant problem is not the treatment, conservative or surgical, but early diagnosis, so a careful physical, laboratory and imaging examination is fundamental, with an important help provided by isolation of the pathogen and histology. In our experience early diagnosis has a fundamental role. In the light of this, current treatment protocols may require a prompt and multidisciplinary management including infectivologists, neuroradiologists and spine surgeons.

KEY WORDS: Spinal cord diseases; Discitis; Anti-bacterial agents; Surgery

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