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Spontaneous spinal infections in older people

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Back pain is common in the elderly. Spinal infection is a rare, but possibly increasing, cause. We describe a retrospective case note review of 41 patients aged 65 years and over with spontaneous spinal infections over a 6-year period. The incidence was 9.8/100 000/year. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common isolate. The mean time from symptom onset to diagnosis was 34 days. Most patients presented with back pain and elevated CRP. Differentiation between discitis and other spinal infections does not appear to be important, as clinical characteristics and outcomes are similar.
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Keywords: discitis; elderly; infection; spine; spondylodiscitis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Canterbury District Health Board and 2: University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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