Osteoarticular infections: a specific program for older patients?

  • Ilker UçkayEmail author
  • Dominique Holy
  • Michael Betz
  • Regina Sauer
  • Tanja Huber
  • Jan Burkhard



With the increasing number of elderly patients, arthroplasties, fractures and diabetic foot infections, the worldwide number of osteoarticular infections (OAI) among the elderly is concomitantly expected to rise.


We explore existing scientific knowledge about OAI in the frail elderly population.


We performed a literature search linking OAIs to geriatric patients and comparing elderly patients (> 65 years) with average adults (range 18–65 years).


In this literature, financial aspects, comparison of diverse therapies on quality of life, reimbursement policies, or specific guidelines or nursing recommendations are missing. Age itself was not an independent factor related to particular pathogens, prevention of OAI, nursing care, and outcomes of OAI. However, geriatric patients were significantly more exposed to adverse events of therapy. They had more co-morbidities and more conservative surgery for OAI.


Available literature regarding OAI management among elderly patients is sparse. In recent evaluations, age itself does not seem an independent factor related to particular epidemiology, pathogens, prevention, nursing care, rehabilitation and therapeutic outcomes of OAI. Future clinical research will concern more conservative surgical indications, but certainly reduce inappropriate antibiotic use.


Osteoarticular infections Elderly Therapy Epidemiology Prevention 


Author contributions

All six authors contributed to the drafting and writing of this review.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

This work had no financial funding or sponsorship, and we have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

This article does not contain any human participation or animal studies.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.InfectiologyBalgrist University HospitalZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Infection ControlBalgrist University HospitalZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Internal MedicineBalgrist University HospitalZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Orthopaedic SurgeryBalgrist University HospitalZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Nursing CareBalgrist University HospitalZurichSwitzerland
  6. 6.PharmacyBalgrist University HospitalZurichSwitzerland

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