Epidemiology and outcomes of bone and joint infections in solid organ transplant recipients

Am J Transplant. 2022 Dec;22(12):3031-3046. doi: 10.1111/ajt.17184. Epub 2022 Sep 24.


Bone and joint infection (BJI) epidemiology and outcomes in solid organ transplant recipients (SOTr) remain largely unknown. We aim to describe BJI in a multi-center cohort of SOTr (Swiss Transplant Cohort Study). All consecutive SOTr with BJI (01.05.2008-31.12.2019) were included. A nested case-control study to identify risk factors for BJI was performed. Among 4482 patients, 61 SOTr with 82 BJI were included, at an incidence of 1.4% (95% CI 1.1-1.7), higher in heart and kidney-pancreas SOTr (Gray's test p < .01). Although BJI were predominately late events (median of 18.5 months post-SOT), most infections occurred during the first year post-transplant in thoracic SOTr. Diabetic foot osteomyelitis was the most frequent infection (38/82, 46.3%), followed by non-vertebral osteomyelitis (26/82, 31.7%). Pathogens included Gram-positive cocci (70/131, 53.4%), Gram-negative bacilli (34/131, 26.0%), and fungi (9/131, 6.9%). BJI predictors included male gender (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.26-6.89) and diabetes (OR 2.97, 95% CI 1.34-6.56). Treatment failure was observed in 25.9% (21/81) patients and 1-year mortality post-BJI diagnosis was 14.8% (9/61). BJI remain a rare event in SOTr, associated with subtle clinical presentations, high morbidity and relapses, requiring additional studies in the future.

Keywords: BJI; bone and joint infection; epidemiology; solid organ transplant recipients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organ Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Osteomyelitis* / epidemiology
  • Osteomyelitis* / etiology
  • Transplant Recipients