Oxford University Press (OUP), Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 12(74), p. 3579-3587, 2019
Abstract Background Acute haematogenous bone and joint infections (AHBJI) represent a diagnostic and therapeutic emergency in children, with significant potential sequelae in the case of delayed treatment. Although historically the recommendations for treatment have been based on surgery and prolonged antibiotic therapy, recent studies have demonstrated that short-course antibiotic therapy is also effective. Objectives We evaluated a short-term antibiotic protocol for both osteomyelitis and septic arthritis in a 6 year retrospective study at the University Hospital of Montpellier. Methods This protocol was based on an initial intravenous treatment with a re-evaluation after 48 h and an early switch to oral therapy in the case of a favourable clinical course for a minimum total duration of 15 days. Antibiotics were selected based on local microbiological epidemiology and systematically adapted to bacteriological results. Results One hundred and seventy-six cases of AHBJI were included, comprising 56 patients with osteomyelitis, 95 with septic arthritis and 25 who had both of these. The aetiological agent was identified in 42% of the cases, with the main pathogens being Staphylococcus aureus (39%) and Kingella kingae (27%). The mean intravenous treatment duration was 4 days, while the total treatment duration was 15 days. There were no treatment failures, mild sequelae occurred in 1% of the cases and the secondary surgical revision rate was 7%. Conclusions The results of this study are comparable to those reported for evaluations of prolonged antibiotic therapy protocols, thus indicating that a common short-term antimicrobial therapy for the management of both osteomyelitis and septic arthritis (minimum of 15 days) is a viable option for treating AHBJI in children. Further prospective studies to confirm these findings are hence warranted.