Management of Acute Osteomyelitis: A Ten-Year Experience Article (Web of Science)


  • Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone; proper management requires prolonged antibiotic treatment. Controversy exists as to when a patient should transition from intravenous to oral antibiotics. However, due to the high bioavailability of some oral antibiotics, optimal time to transition from high to low bioavailability antibiotics is a more valid consideration. Additionally, there are questions surrounding the efficacy of certain antibiotics, specifically trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX), in treating osteomyelitis. After obtaining Institutional Review Board approval from both universities, a retrospective chart review was conducted, utilizing an author-created severity scale, on all patients seen by Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Universities of Michigan and Toledo with an acute osteomyelitis diagnosis from 2002-2012. There were 133 patients, 106 treated successfully. Success was defined in this study specifically as treatment of <14 weeks without recurrence within 30 days of stopping antibiotics or permanent site disability. Seventeen patients were treated with TMP-SMX at comparable cure rates. Patients with pre-existing bone defects (noted in radiological reports), initial erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) ≥70, hematogenous osteomyelitis with soft tissue extension, and skull osteomyelitis were associated with increased failure rate. Switch to low bioavailability antibiotics occurred, on average, at 3.5 weeks; however, switching before then was not associated with decreased cure rate. As prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), especially clindamycin- resistant MRSA, increases, TMP-SMX appears to be an acceptable antibiotic. There does not appear to be a minimum length of high bioavailability treatment required for cure. Prior bone defect, extensive infection, ESR≥70, or skull osteomyelitis may be indications for more aggressive management.


  • Helm, Caitlin
  • Huschart, Emily
  • Kaul, Rajat
  • Bhumbra, Samina
  • Blackwood, R. Alexander
  • Mukundan, Deepa

publication date

  • 2016

published in

start page

  • 6350


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