South Med J 2007 May;100(5):506-11
University of New Mexico and New Mexico Veteran's Administration Health Care System, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108-5154, USA.
Background: To review the presentation of Bacteroides fragilis (B fragilis) spondylodiscitis.
Methods: Two investigators independently searched the published English, Spanish and French languages literature through September 2005 using MEDLINE (1966-2005). We included all reported cases of vertebral osteomyelitis or spondylodiscitis caused by B fragilis, not related to sacral decubitus ulcers, in adults (age 16 yr and above). A third author independently reviewed all articles and extracted data for accuracy. The final pool of eligible publications included 11 articles, publication dates ranging from 1978 to 2005. Eight were written in English, two in Spanish, and one in French.
Results: The age of the patients in this series ranged from 17 to 74 years, with a mean age of 55 years. Male to female ratio was 6:1. Lumbar involvement was reported in nine cases, thoracic involvement in two patients and sacral involvement in one patient. B fragilis was recovered by blood culture in four patients and by tissue culture in eight patients. Metronidazole was the most common antibiotic used for treatment (eight patients), either as monotherapy or in combination with other antibiotics.
Conclusions: B fragilis is a rare causative agent of spondylodiscitis, but it should be considered in patients with spondylodiscitis who have contiguous intraabdominal or pelvic infections or who had recent gastrointestinal procedures that may have led to B fragilis bacteremia.