Comparative analysis of spontaneous infectious spondylitis: Pyogenic versus tuberculous

Yangwon Lee, Bum Joon Kim, Se Hoon Kim, Seung Hwan Lee, Won Hyung Kim, Sung Won Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Spondylitis is often chemotherapy resistant and requires long-term treatment. Without adequate chemotherapy, the outcome can be fatal or result in severe neurologic damage. Therefore, differentiating the etiology of spondylitis is very important, particularly in spontaneous cases. As the prevalence of tuberculosis in Korea has decreased in recent years, updated clinical research about spondylitis is warranted. Methods: From April 2010 to March 2016, data from spondylitis patients were collected retrospectively. In total, 69 patients (51 with pyogenic spondylitis and 18 with tuberculous spondylitis) were included. Clinical data, laboratory findings including erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) level, measurements of Cobb angles at the initial and final follow-up, and radiologic features on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were evaluated. To test differences between the pyogenic and tuberculous groups, numerical data were compared using the student’s t-test and Mann-Whitney U test, and categorical data were compared using the chi-square test and Fisher’s exact test. Results: The patients’ mean age was 60.0 years. Male sex was slightly predominant (56.5%). There was no difference in mean age and sex between the two groups. The pyogenic group had a relatively higher proportion of immunocompromised patients. The peak CRP value was higher in the pyogenic group than in the tuberculous group (14.08 mg/dL and 8.50 mg/dL, respectively, p=0.009), whereas the ESR was not significantly different between the groups (81.5 mm/h and 75.6 mm/h, respectively, p=0.442). Radiologically, the presence of disc space sparing and vertebral body collapse differed between the groups. In the tuberculous group, the disc was more commonly preserved on contrast-enhanced MRI (50% and 23.5%, respectively, p=0.044), and vertebral body collapse was more common (66.6% and 15.7%, respectively, p<0.001). The mean length of hospitalization was longer in the pyogenic group (56.5 days and 41.2 days, respectively, p=0.001). Four mortality cases were observed only in the pyogenic group. The most commonly isolated microorganism in the pyogenic group was Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) (methicillin susceptible S. aureus and methicillin resistant S. aureus [MRSA] in 8 and 4 cases, respectively). Conclusion: The clinical and radiological manifestations of spontaneous spondylitis differ based on the causative organism. Pyogenic spondylitis patients tend to have a higher CRP level and a more severe clinical course, whereas tuberculous spondylitis patients present with destruction of the vertebral body with disc sparing more frequently. The presence of MRSA is increasing in community-acquired spondylitis cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Korean Neurosurgical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan


  • Bacterial infection
  • Bone diseases
  • Infectious
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Spondylitis
  • Spondylodiscitis
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative analysis of spontaneous infectious spondylitis: Pyogenic versus tuberculous'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this