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Perspectives on orthopaedics

Recognising and treating discitis

Angus Gray

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Abstract

Discitis is usually straightforward to treat but difficult to diagnose. It should always be considered in a patient with acute back pain in the presence of fever or malaise.

Article Extract

Disc space infection (pyogenic infectious spondylitis) is an uncommon condition characterised by delayed diagnosis; 50% of adult patients have symptoms for three months beforehand. Symptoms are variable – particularly in children – and signs may be nonspecific. For these reasons, discitis should always be considered in cases of acute back pain in the presence of fever or malaise.

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