Vertebral Osteomyelitis: An Under-Recognized Infectious Complication in Patients on Home Parenteral Nutrition

Genevieve Huard, Mickael Bouin, Michel Lemoyne, Louise D'Aoust


Background: Patients on home parenteral nutrition (HPN) are at high risk of central venous catheter sepsis (CVCS). CVCS can be associated with distant bacterial seeding. However, few cases of vertebral osteomyelitis (VO) related to HPN have been reported. For this reason, we made the hypothesis that the incidence of VO in patients on HPN is probably higher than what is reported. The goal of this study was to evaluate the incidence of infectious complications, and more specifically, the incidence of VO in patients on HPN.

Methods: A retrospective study of all patients receiving HPN from 2001 to 2006 was conducted. Patients who received HPN for < 1 month were excluded. Infectious complications and, more specifically, cases of VO were searched.

Results: Thirty-one patients received HPN and were included in the analysis. Forty-four infectious complications occurred (1.302/1,000 CVC-days). The most frequent infectious complication was urinary tract infection (25 cases; 0.740/1,000 CVC-days). Seven CVCS occurred in five different patients (0.207/1,000 CVC-days). In patients with CVCS, 42.9% (three cases) developed a secondary VO. No predictive factors for the development of VO could be identified in univariate analysis.

Conclusion: We report a very low rate of infectious complications and an even lower rate of CVCS in patients on HPN. However, we report that 42.9% of our cases of CVCS developed a secondary VO. Consequently, VO must be part of the differential diagnosis among patients with HPN who complain of back pain.

J Clin Med Res. 2014;6(4):272-277


Vertebral osteomyelitis; Parenteral nutrition; Infectious complications

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