To investigate self-reported quality of life (QoL) in patients with osteomyelitis referred to a specialist centre in the UK and investigate the relationship between QoL and BACH classification.
All patients newly referred to a specialist bone infection clinic at a single tertiary centre within the UK between January 2019 and February 2020 were prospectively included. Diagnosis of osteomyelitis was made according to the presence of clinical and radiological criteria for ≥6 months. An EQ-5D-5L questionnaire and visual analogue score (VAS) were completed during the initial clinic appointment. Long-bone osteomyelitis was classified by the attending orthopaedic surgeon using the BACH classification system as either uncomplicated, complex or with limited options available.1 Patients managed non-operatively were subclassified into those who were (i) unfit to receive an operation or (ii) fit and well with stable disease. EQ-5D index scores were compared to a published UK value set of 41 chronic health conditions within the UK.2
201 patients were referred during the study period, with 159 (79.1%) patients diagnosed with long-bone osteomyelitis and 16 (8.0%) with osteomyelitis of the pelvic bones. Patients with pelvic osteomyelitis reported lower EQ-5D index scores compared to long-bone osteomyelitis (EQ-5D: 0.097 vs. 0.435, p<0.001) but similar VAS (60.2 vs. 54.6, p=0.37). Long-bone and pelvic osteomyelitis gave the 40th and 41st lowest EQ-5D scores respectively when compared to 41 other chronic health conditions including stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease, liver disease and malignancy. Patients classified as having uncomplicated long-bone osteomyelitis reported significantly higher QoL compared to those classified as complex osteomyelitis (EQ-5D: 0.527 vs. 0.401, p<0.05; VAS: 66.9 vs. 58.4, p<0.05). Patients who were not fit for surgery due to co-morbidity reported similar QoL scores compared to those patients with complex osteomyelitis (EQ-5D: 0.293, p=0.07; VAS: 46.6, p=0.06). Patients with stable disease who did not require surgery, gave significantly better QoL scores when compared to the other classifications of osteomyelitis (EQ-5D: 0.746, p<0.01; VAS: 81.9, p<0.01).
Patient reported QoL in osteomyelitis correlates with disease complexity as classified according to the BACH classification system. Patients with pelvic and long-bone osteomyelitis rate their QoL lower than patients with other chronic diseases.