Clinical study| Volume 75, P134-138, May 2020

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Comparative outcomes of operative relative to medical management of spondylodiscitis accounting for frailty status at presentation

Published:March 12, 2020DOI:


      • Operative intervention was associated with lower 30-day mortality and 1-year mortality compared to conservative treatment.
      • Increased mFI was associated with higher short-term mortality.
      • mFI > 3 trended higher mortality regardless of intervention.



      Investigate outcomes in a spondylodiscitis (SD) patient cohort undergoing operative and medical treatment or medical treatment alone, accounting for frailty status at presentation.


      Patients >18 years old undergoing treatment for SD were retrospectively analyzed. The diagnosis of SD was made through a combination of clinical findings, MRI/CT findings, and blood/tissue cultures. Those who failed to respond to antibiotics, had deteriorating markers, or developed neurologic compromise were considered operative candidates. Patients were stratified based on operative (Op, operative plus medical management) or conservative (Cons, medical only) treatment. Univariate analyses identified differences in outcome measures across treatment groups. Conditional forward regression equations, controlling for patient age, identified predictors of increased mortality and inferior outcomes.


      116 patients with SD were included. 73 underwent Cons treatment and 43 were Op. Op patients were significantly younger (62.9vs70.7yrs; p < 0.001) and less frail (1.09vs1.85; p < 0.006) than Cons patients, with significantly higher WCC and ESR. Cons pts had higher rates of isolated SD, but Op pts had higher rates of SD with associated SEA, VOM, psoas abscess, and para-vertebral abscess (all p < 0.05). Op pts had significantly lower 30-day mortality than Cons pts (2.3%vs17.8%, p = 0.016), and trended lower 1Y mortality (11.6%vs20.5%, p = 0.310) with similar SD recurrence rates (11.6%vs16.4%, p = 0.592). Patients with an mFI > 3 had significantly higher 30-day mortality (30.4% vs 7.5%, p = 0.003) and trended higher 1-year mortality regardless of intervention.


      Operative intervention was associated with lower 30-day mortality significantly and 1-year mortality compared to conservative treatment, while an increased mFI was associated with higher short-term mortality.


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