Vertebral osteomyelitis (VO), also known as spondylodiscitis, describes infections of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs. Discitis describes infection limited to the intervertebral discs; in clinical practice both discitis and VO can be regarded as different stages of a single entity. VO can be caused by bacteria, fungi and parasites The incidence of VO is increasing globally representing 3-5% of all osteomyelitis with an estimated incidence ranging from 4 to 24 per million per year. Increasing incidence has been attributed to a combination of improved diagnostics, increased healthcare associated infections, haemodialysis, indwelling catheters, intravenous drug use, spinal instrumentation, immunocompromised hosts and an ageing population [1]. If left untreated, VO can lead to irreversible spinal cord injury, deformity, neurologic deficits, septicaemia, and mortality (mortality rates ranges 4%-29%). VO is typically treated with antibiotics, but up to 40% to 50% of VO patients may eventually require surgical intervention [1-3] Despite advances in diagnostic modalities, medical and surgical care, there are still many controversial areas with regards to both diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in VO. In this review a number of 'hot topics' on VO were selected and reviewed by members of the Skin, Soft Tissue and Bone Infections Working Group of the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ISAC). This group includes international scientists, microbiology and infectious diseases clinicians and academics, whose aim is to advance the education and the science of infection management. This paper is an in-depth review of the current literature, providing a summary of the various aspects of VO and expert opinions and insights from the authors' own experience, highlighting areas for future study and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.


  • Brucella
  • Vertebral osteomyelitis
  • Spondylodiscitis
  • Spinal Tuberculosis
  • Fungal infections
  • Spinal tuberculosis
  • Fungal infection


Dive into the research topics of 'Hot topics on vertebral osteomyelitis from the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this