Osteoarticular infections (OAI) are infrequent in pediatrics and there is controversy on the need for prolonged use of intravenous antimicrobials.
Objective: To characterize and describe evolution and complications of a regimen of 7 days initial intravenous antibiotic treatment for OAI in children, completing 4-6 weeks of total treatment.
Patients and methods: In a large pediatric hospital, 70 children younger than 15 years of age were diagnosed with OAI between March 2003 and December 2004. Children received 7 days of intravenous antibiotics followed by 3 to 5 weeks of oral treatment.
Results: Incidence of OAI in this hospital was 1.8:10000. Patients mean age was 6.4 +/-4.4 years and 60% presented with septic arthritis, 36% osteomyelitis and 4% osteoarthritis. In 80% of cases, the infection was located in the lower extremity. Positive cultures were obtained in 59% predominating Staphylococcus aureus (46.5%). Seven patients had prolonged pain or persistently high or increasing serum C reactive protein levels and were maintained on prolonged intravenous therapy. None of the 63 children with 7 day intravenous antimicrobials nor the 7 children with prolonged intravenous use developed a complication in the short-term follow up.
Conclusions: Seven days of intravenous antibiotic for the initial phase of OAI treatment was effective in a majority of children and may be recommended.