Background: Synovial fluid and blood cultures often remain negative in acute bone and joint infections of childhood even when characteristic symptoms, signs, and/or radiologic proof are present.
Methods: We analyzed 345 prospectively documented osteoarticular infections in children at age 3 months to 15 years. In 23% of the cases (N = 80), synovial, bone, and/or blood cultures remained negative. The characteristics of these cases were compared with patients with culture-positive bone and joint infections.
Results: The 2 groups did not differ in age or gender distribution, surgical procedures performed, or outcome. In the culture-negative cases, the initial serum C-reactive protein level was lower (58 vs 87 mg/L, P < .0001) and the hospital stay was shorter (8 vs 11 days, P < .0001).
Conclusions: Bone and joint infections in which cultures fail to identify the causative agent can be treated similarly as culture-positive cases.
Keywords: Bacteria; Culture; Osteomyelitis; Septic Arthritis.
© The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com.