Int J Spine Surg. 2023 Jul 17:8482. doi: 10.14444/8482. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Antibiotic treatment of spondylodiscitis is influenced by antibiotic stewardship; specifically, empirical antibiotic therapy is avoided in favor of-delayed-targeted antibiotic therapy after microbiological diagnosis. Only patients with neurological deficits or clinical signs of sepsis should be treated by empirical antibiotic therapy. However, the level of evidence for this treatment concept is weak.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate whether patients who were treated with a nontargeted antibiotic therapy show a worse outcome than patients who were exclusively treated with targeted antibiotic therapy.
STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: A retrospective single-center data analysis.
PATIENT SAMPLE: We included 201 patients with spondylodiscitis who were treated at the authors' institution between 2013 and 2020.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Mortality rate, time in hospital, development of laboratory parameters, and development of pain (visual analog scale).
METHODS: We performed a retrospective data analysis of patients who were treated for spondylodiscitis from January 2013 to March 2020. Clinical and demographic data as well as outcome and complications were recorded and analyzed. We investigated whether patients who were treated by a nontargeted antibiotic therapy had a worse outcome than patients who were exclusively treated by targeted antibiotic therapy and which other clinical factors had an impact on clinical outcome.
RESULTS: A total of 201 patients were included, 37 of whom developed sepsis during their hospital stay, and 14 of these 37 patients died. The 14 patients who died represented (10.0%) of the subgroup who received an empirical antibiotic treatment before the targeted antibiotic therapy (n = 141). There were 0 deaths in the subgroup who did not receive an empirical antibiotic treatment (P < 0.05). The time to diagnosis since admission to the hospital was 10.5 (2.2) days in patients with sepsis; in patients without sepsis, it was 5.2 (0.9) days (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Based on the results of this investigation, the authors recommend delaying antibiotic therapy until targeted antibiotic therapy is possible. Furthermore, early diagnosis of spondylodiscitis and prevention and early detection of sepsis are essential to reduce the mortality rate of patients with spondylodiscitis.