Candidal Vertebral Osteomyelitis: Report of 6 Patients, and a Review

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The incidence of deep-seated candidal infection is increasing, but candidal vertebral osteomyelitis is still rare. We describe 6 patients recently treated in our hospital. Conservative treatment failed in all. We reviewed the literature and identified 59 additional cases of candidal vertebral osteomyelitis. Candidemia was documented in 61.5% of them. The interval between the diagnosis of candidemia and the onset of symptoms of vertebral osteomyelitis varied widely, from days to >1 year. In patients without documented candidemia, there was a similar interval between the occurrence of risk factors for candidemia (present in 72% of the patients) and the onset of symptoms of vertebral osteomyelitis. Clinical, laboratory, and radiological findings are not specific for candidal spondylodiskitis. Final diagnosis is determined by means of culture of a biopsy specimen from the infected vertebra or disk. Treatment consisted of prolonged antifungal treatment, and it often included surgery. On the basis of our experience (for all 6 patients, initial conservative treatment with only antifungals failed), we recommend consideration of early surgical debridement in combination with prolonged antifungal therapy.

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