Although increasingly frequent, little is known about the clinical presentation, radiological signs, and outcome of Candida vertebral osteomyelitis (CVO).
We performed a nationwide retrospective study of laboratory-confirmed cases of CVO over a 10 year-period in France with a prolonged follow-up. We describe demographic, clinical, biological, and radiological characteristics of patients with CVO, patients’ management, and long-term outcome and determine factors associated with a poor outcome.
In total, 28 patients with laboratory-confirmed CVO were included. A prior systemic Candida infection was evidenced in 13/28 (46%), occurring a median of 6 weeks before CVO was diagnosed. Twenty-six of 28 (93%) had at least 1 underlying condition at risk of invasive fungal disease, and in 19/28 (68%) CVO was health-care related. C albicans was most frequently identified (21/28; 75%) Lumbo-sacral involvement was the most prevalent (20/28—71%). Nearly half patients had no fever at presentation, but all had pain. Initial antifungal therapy consisted in fluconazole in 15/28 (53%); surgery was needed in 5 (18%) cases.
One-year mortality was 21% (6/28), directly related to fungal infection in 2 patients. Risk-factors associated with 1-year mortality were age (P=.02), a high Charlson comorbidity index (P = .001), and a shorter treatment duration (median, 3 months vs 6 months; P = .02). Among 22 patients who survived, the median follow up duration was 15.5 months (8–93.5); 10 had sequelae, consisting in pain in all and neurological deficit in one. A longer treatment duration was significantly associated with healing without sequelae (P = .04).
CVO concerns patients with serious underlying conditions and risk-factors for invasive candidiasis. Prolonged antifungal treatment appears to improve survival without sequelae.