Anaerobic spondylodiscitis: a retrospective analysis

Chien Ting Chen, Meng Huang Wu, Tsung Yu Huang, Yen Yao Li, Tsung Jen Huang, Chien Yin Lee, Che Han Lin, Ching Yu Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This retrospective study analyzed the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with anaerobic spondylodiscitis. Methods: From a total of 382 patients with infectious spondylodiscitis, nine patients (2.4%; two male and seven female with an average age of 67 years) with anaerobic spondylodiscitis between March 2003 and March 2017 were analyzed. Results: Most of the patients (77.8%) initially presented with afebrile back pain. Hematogenous spread occurred in seven patients and postoperative infection in two patients. Bacteroid fragilis was the most common pathogen isolated from three patients. Atypical radiographic characteristics, including a vertebral fracture with the preservation of disk height or coexisting spondylolytic spondylolisthesis, occurred in four patients with hematogenous anaerobic spondylodiscitis. The eradication rate of anaerobic infection was significantly higher in the patients with hematogenous infection than in those with postoperative infection (100% vs. 0%, p = 0.0476). Anaerobic spondylodiscitis accounted for 2.4% of cases of infectious spondylodiscitis and predominantly affected the female patients. Conclusions: Diagnostic delay may occur because of atypical spinal radiographs if the patient reports only back pain but no fever. Anaerobic infection following elective spinal instrumentation has a higher recurrence rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number788
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Anaerobic spondylodiscitis
  • Atypical radiographic characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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