, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 679–686 | Cite as

Native vertebral osteomyelitis in aged patients: distinctive features. An observational cohort study

  • Juan Aguilar-CompanyEmail author
  • Carles Pigrau
  • Nuria Fernández-Hidalgo
  • Dolors Rodríguez-Pardo
  • Vicenç Falcó
  • Mayli Lung
  • Ferran Pellisé
  • Benito Almirante
Original Paper



To describe the demographic, clinical, and microbiological profile of native vertebral osteomyelitis (NVO) in aged patients as compared to that of younger patients, to identify differences that could motivate changes in clinical management.


Retrospective, observational cohort study (1990–2015) including all adult patients with microbiologically confirmed NVO divided into 2 groups: aged (≥ 65 years) vs younger (18–64 years).


247 patients included, 138 aged and 109 younger. Relative to younger patients, the aged had higher rates of healthcare-related infection (40.6 vs 25.7%, p = 0.014), previous known heart valve disease (29.7 vs 9.2%, p < 0.001), and concomitant infective endocarditis (38.4 vs 20.2%, p = 0.002). The groups showed similar rates of symptomatic spinal cord compression (14.5 vs 11.9%, p = 0.556) and paraspinal abscesses (62.3 vs 68.8%, p = 0.288) at presentation. There was a trend to lower spine surgery rates in the aged (11.6 vs 17.4%, p = 0.192). On univariate analysis, Staphylococcus aureus infection was associated with higher in-hospital mortality in aged (29%, OR 4.3, 95% CI 1.61–11.45). In-hospital mortality was higher among the aged (14.5 vs 6.4%, p = 0.044) as well as relapse rate due to treatment failure (3.4 vs 1%, p = 0.377).


The findings underscore the importance of preventing healthcare-related infection and maintaining high clinical suspicion of infective endocarditis in aged NVO patients to implement proper management. S. aureus infection had a poorer prognosis in this population. As compared to younger patients, spinal surgery rates were slightly lower and overall prognosis poorer in the aged, despite similar rates of symptomatic spinal cord compression and abscesses at presentation.


Native vertebral osteomyelitis Aged Bone infections Healthcare-related infection Infective endocarditis 



All authors had access to the data and a role in writing the manuscript. We thank Celine Cavallo for language support.


Supported by Plan Nacional de I+D+I 2013–2016 and Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Subdirección General de Redes y Centros de Investigación Cooperativa, Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad, Spanish Network for Research in Infectious Diseases (REIPI RD16/0016/0003)—co-financed by European Development Regional Fund “A way to achieve Europe”, Operative program Intelligent Growth 2014–2020.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Aguilar-Company
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carles Pigrau
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nuria Fernández-Hidalgo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dolors Rodríguez-Pardo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vicenç Falcó
    • 1
  • Mayli Lung
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ferran Pellisé
    • 4
  • Benito Almirante
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Infectious Diseases Department, Hospital Universitari Vall d’HebronUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Spanish Network for the Research in Infectious Diseases (REIPI RD12/0015)Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  3. 3.Microbiology Department, Hospital Universitari Vall d’HebronUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Spine Unit, Hospital Universitari Vall d’HebronUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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