Background: There are limited data describing the clinical characteristics of pyogenic spondylitis caused by Gram-negative bacteria (GNB). The aim of this study was to investigate the predisposing factors and clinical characteristics of pyogenic spondylitis caused by GNB compared to Gram-positive cocci (GPC). Methods: We performed a retrospective review of medical records from patients with culture-confirmed pyogenic spondylitis at four tertiary teaching hospitals over an 8-year period. Results: A total of 344 patients with culture-confirmed pyogenic spondylitis were evaluated. There were 62 patients (18.0%) with pyogenic spondylitis caused by GNB and the most common organism was Escherichia coli (n = 35, 10.2%), followed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n = 10, 2.9%). Pyogenic spondylitis caused by GNB was more frequently associated with the female gender (64.5 vs. 35.5%, P <0.01), preexisting or synchronous genitourinary tract infection (32.3 vs. 2.1%, P< 0.01), and intra-abdominal infection (12.9 vs. 0.4%, P< 0.01) compared to patients with GPC. Although pyogenic spondylitis caused by GNB presented with severe sepsis more frequently (24.2 vs. 11.3%, P = 0.01), the mortality rate (6.0 vs. 5.2%) and the proportion of patients with residual disability (6.0 vs. 9.0%), defined as grade 3 or 4 (P = 0.78) 3 months after completion of treatment, were not significantly different compared to GPC patients. Conclusion: GNB should be considered as the etiologic organism when infectious spondylitis develops in a patient with preexisting or synchronous genitourinary tract and intra-abdominal infection. In addition, the mortality rate and clinical outcomes are not significantly different between pyogenic spondylitis caused by GNB and GPC.
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© 2015 Kang et al.