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Children's Orthopaedics

Late orthopaedic sequelae following meningococcal septicaemia


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Between 1990 and 2001, 24 children aged between 15 months and 11 years presented with late orthopaedic sequelae after meningococcal septicaemia. The median time to presentation was 32 months (12 to 119) after the acute phase of the disease. The reasons for referral included angular deformity, limb-length discrepancy, joint contracture and problems with prosthetic fitting. Angular deformity with or without limb-length discrepancy was the most common presentation. Partial growth arrest was the cause of the angular deformity. Multiple growth-plate involvement occurred in 14 children. The lower limbs were affected much more often than the upper. Twenty-three children underwent operations for realignment of the mechanical axis and limb-length equalisation. In 15 patients with angular deformity around the knee the deformity recurred. As a result we recommend performing a realignment procedure with epiphysiodesis of the remaining growth plate when correcting angular deformities.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr M. V. Belthur at 28 Hollington Drive, Pontprennau, Cardiff CF23 8PG, UK; e-mail: mohanbelthur@aol.com

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