Background: Severity of illness in children with acute hematogenous osteomyelitis (AHO) is variable, ranging from mild, requiring short-duration antibiotic therapy without surgery, to severe, requiring intensive care, multiple surgeries and prolonged hospitalization. This study evaluates severity of illness among children with AHO using clinical and laboratory findings.
Methods: Fifty-six children with AHO, consecutively treated in 2009, were retrospectively studied. Objective clinical, radiographic and laboratory parameters related to severity of illness were gathered for each child. A physician panel was assembled to rank order objective clinical parameters, review clinical data and classify each child as mild, moderate or severe. Statistically significant parameters correlated with length of hospitalization were utilized to devise a severity of illness score and applied to the cohort of children for internal validation.
Results: The physician panel had perfect or substantial agreement regarding 7 parameters (ICU admission, intubation, pulmonary involvement, venous thrombosis, multifocal infection, surgeries and febrile days on antibiotics). Parameters that significantly correlated with total length of stay included: C-reactive protein values at admission (P < 0.0001), 48 hours (P < 0.0001) and 96 hours (P < 0.0002); febrile days on antibiotics (P < 0.0001); admission respiratory rate (P = 0.023) and evidence of disseminated disease (P = 0.016). A scoring system, derived from selected parameters, significantly differentiated children with AHO on the basis of causative organism, intensive care admission, surgeries, length of hospitalization, complications and physician panel assessment.
Conclusions: Severity of illness score for AHO, derived from preliminary clinical and laboratory findings, is useful stratifying children with this disease. Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level II