Empiric antibiotic therapy for suspected pyogenic spondylodiscitis (SD) should be initiated immediately with severely ill patients and may also be necessary for culture-negative SD. The aim of this study was to infer an appropriate empiric antibiotic regimen by analyzing the antimicrobial susceptibility of isolated pathogens from microbiologically proven pyogenic spondylodiscitis.
We performed a retrospective review of adult patients with clinically proven SD treated at our level 1 trauma center between 2013 and 2020. Demographic data, radiologic findings, and treatment modalities were evaluated. The appropriateness of empiric antibiotic regimens was assessed based on the antibiograms of the isolated pathogens. Anamneses were used to distinguish between community-acquired (CA) and healthcare-associated (HA) pathogens, which included cases that had a hospital stay or invasive intervention in the past 6 months.
A total of 155 patients (male: N=88; female: N=67; mean age 66.1 ± 12.4 years) with SD were identified. In n= 74 (47.7%) cases, the infections were associated with the healthcare system (HA). N=34 (21.9%) patients suffered from sepsis. The lumbar spine was involved in 47.1% of the cases, the thoracic spine in 37.3%, and the cervical spine in 7.8%. In 7.8% of the cases, SD occurred in multiple spinal segments. N=96 (62.0%) patients were treated surgically. The mean hospital stay was 36.4 ± 36.3 days. Antibiograms of n=45 patients (HA: N=22; CA: N=23) could be retrospectively evaluated: The most frequently identified pathogens were Staphylococcus aureus (46.7%), Coagulase-negative Staphylococci (17.8%), Enterobacteriaceae (15.6%) and Streptococcus species (15.6%). Overall, 82.2% (HA: 68.2%; CA: 95.5%) of the isolated pathogens were sensitive to piperacillin/tazobactam, 77.8% (HA: 81.8%; CA: 72.2%) to vancomycin, 64.4% (HA: 68.2%; CA: 59.1%) to clindamycin, and 55.6% (HA: 36.4%; CA: 72.7%) to ceftriaxone. To a combination of vancomycin plus meropenem 97.8% of pathogens were sensitive (HA: 95.5%; CA: 100.0%), to vancomycin plus ciprofloxacin 91.1% (HA: 86.4%; CA: 95.7%), and to vancomycin plus cefotaxime 93.3% (HA: 90.9%; CA: 95.7%). In 14 cases, empiric antibiosis was adjusted based on the results of the antibiogram.
Antibiotic resistance of CA SD pathogens differed significantly from HA SD. The identification of the pathogen and the analysis of its susceptibility guides the antibiotic therapy. Vancomycin in combination with a carbapenem, broad-spectrum cephalosporin, or fluoroquinolone may be appropriate for empiric treatment of HA SD.