Osteomyelitis in children and infants - [>4 weeks and <16 years old] excluding spinal infection.

Publication: 01/05/2010  --
Last review: 22/03/2016  
Next review: 22/09/2019  
Clinical Guideline
UNDER REVIEW 
ID: 1932 
Approved By: Improving Antimicrobial Prescribing Group 
Copyright© Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust 2016  

 

This Clinical Guideline is intended for use by healthcare professionals within Leeds unless otherwise stated.
For healthcare professionals in other trusts, please ensure that you consult relevant local and national guidance.

Guideline for the management of osteomyelitis in children and infants [>4 weeks and <16 years old] excluding spinal infection.

Summary
Osteomyelitis in children and infants

These guidelines apply to children with acute haematogenous osteomyelitis but excluding those with spinal infection. Click for links to guideline for osteomyelitis in neonates and deep spinal infection.

Diagnosis is clinically based:
History: Usually rapid onset and progressive pain in affected bone. Fevers and systemic upset is variable. Infants and younger children – parent may report reduced use of limb or limping.
Ask about: trauma [e.g. nail penetration injury in sole of foot], penicillin [and other] allergies; Haemophilus Influenzae vaccination status; information on previous MRSA carriage/infection.

Examination: Look for swelling and bony tenderness to palpation. Assess systemic signs of infection. An infant may not be using the affected limb.

Investigations

  • Routine blood tests: Blood Cultures [before antimicrobials] FBC and CRP.
  • A plain x-ray of affected bone[s].
  • Ultrasound scan – if abscess/septic arthritis suspected or severe sepsis.
  • MRI – if infection of spine or pelvis suspected.

Non-antimicrobial treatment
Pain relief and splintage of adjacent joint in a cast as determined by orthopaedic consultant
Fluid resuscitation as necessary

Antimicrobial treatment
The following is a summary of initial empirical intravenous antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics should not be given until Blood Cultures have been taken.

The recommended antibiotics doses are in agreement with BNFC 2009. Dose reductions may be required in patients with hepatic or renal impairment, consult product literature or pharmacy for further information.

Children and infants age 1 month to 5 years:
Intravenous Cefuroxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefuroxime (50–60 mg/kg (max. 1.5 grams) every 6–8 hours)

Children age 5 years to 16 years:
Intravenous Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Flucloxacillin (50 mg/kg (max. 2 grams) every 6 hours.)
add Cefotaxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefotaxime in severe sepsis (50 mg/kg every 6 hours (max. 12g daily)) pending Blood Cultures and PCR.

Children and infants age 1 month to 16 years with a true immediate-type penicillin allergy:
Intravenous Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin (15 mg/kg every 8 hours (do not exceed an initial maximum of 2 grams/day). Adjust dose according to plasma concentrations, aim for ‘trough’ levels of 10-20mg/L) PLUS
Intravenous Ciprofloxacin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Ciprofloxacin (10 mg/kg (max. 400 mg) every 8 hours).

Children and infants age 1 month to 16 years with a previous MRSA infection or colonisation:
Intravenous Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin (15 mg/kg every 8 hours (not exceed an initial maximum of 2 grams/day). Adjust dose according to plasma concentrations, aim for ‘trough’ levels of 10-20mg/L) PLUS
Intravenous Cefuroxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefuroxime (50–60 mg/kg (max. 1.5 grams) every 6–8 hours).

Duration
6 weeks (intravenous initially and completed orally) is the mainstay of treatment.

Oral switch
See full guideline

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Background

Pathogenesis
Osteomyelitis can occur via haematogenous seeding of bone, by direct spread from an adjacent focus of infection or as a complication of open fractures or surgery. In children osteomyelitis is mostly commonly acute and caused by seeding of the metaphyses of long bones [proximal tibia and distal femur most often] via the bloodstream (Berbari et al., 2005)

Osteomyelitis in children is usually haematogenous but with the exception of skin rashes e.g. chickenpox a primary focus is seldom identified. It is believed that the anatomy of the metaphysis may predispose to infection (Berbari et al., 2005). Loops of capillaries extend from the nutrient artery under the growth plate and feed into venous sinusoids where blood flow is sluggish. Low oxygen tension may retard white cell phagocytosis. Naturally occurring bacteraemic episodes result in bacterial seeding in this environment and when the virulence/host resistance balance tips then infection develops. Antecedent local minor trauma is associated with the onset of osteomyelitis possibly due to local bone bruising and further capillary circulation compromise but a convincing trauma history is not particularly common in the author’s experience. Infection is usually in a single site but occasionally multifocal disease occurs.

Contamination of open fractures can lead to deep fracture site infection if there is not urgent and adequate surgical debridement. This form of bone injury/infection requires specialized orthopaedic/plastic surgical management and is not considered further here.

Microbiology
The causative organism of bone infection varies with the age of the child and this difference in epidemiology influences the choice of empirical antimicrobial therapy.

The most common causes of osteomyelitis in children >1 months up to 5 years are: Staphylococcus aureus, Kingella kingae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and beta-haemolytic streptococci [mostly A and B] (Chometon et al., 2007; Rasmont et al., 2008; Yagupsky et al., 1992).

The most common causes of osteomyelitis in children >5 to 16 years are Staphylococcus aureus and streptococci(Yagupsky et al., 1992).

Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, Enterobacteriacaea [“coliforms”], and other streptococci are uncommon causes of osteomyelitis (Chometon et al., 2007). Salmonella species should be considered in children with haemaglobinopathies.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa should be considered when puncture wounds to the sole of the foot are the cause of infection.

Culture negative osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis is a very rare manifestation of cat-scratch disease [caused by Bartonella henselae] (de Kort et al., 2006). Since Bartonella henselae is not culturable using routine microbiological techniques, PCR on bone biopsy is required to make a diagnosis. Tuberculosis should be considered in more insidious infections with epidemiological risk factors or typical radiological findings.

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Clinical Diagnosis

The typical history is of a previously well child who develops a febrile illness and malaise with localized pain in an extremity. In infants the history is necessarily sketchy but systemic features as above and “pseudoparalysis” of the affected limb draws the parents’ attention. Older children will provide an account of increasing localized pain and demonstrate a limp. It is important to ask about: penicillin [and other] allergies, Haemophilus Influenzae vaccination status and information on previous MRSA carriage/infection because these will influence empirical therapy. Any relevant history of recent trauma should be elicited e.g. stepping on a rusty nail etc.

Examination shows swelling and bony tenderness to palpation especially in subcutaneous bones [e.g. around the knee and ankle]. A fever is usual [>90%] but not universal. On occasion the child will present with septic shock reflecting delayed diagnosis or an unusually aggressive organism. These are medical and possibly surgical emergencies [e.g. if a collection is seen on scanning].

Infection is usually acute but a more insidious subacute variant is recognized [Brodie’s abscess] reflecting an altered balance of bacterial virulence and host resistance.

Panton Valentine Leukocidin Staphylococcus Aureus (PVL-SA)
Where a child has bone and/or joint infection and has severe systemic disease and in particular an associated chest infection then PVL (Panton-Valentine Leucocidin) variant SA infection should be suspected. An aggressive approach to imaging, surgical drainage and anti-microbial medication is required. General supportive treatment is needed and such cases often require ICU care. If PVL-SA is suspected please discuss with microbiology.

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Investigation
  1. Blood tests
    Recommendation: Blood Cultures should be sent prior to starting antimicrobials in all patients.
    [Evidence level C]
    Bone biopsies are rarely performed in children therefore the microbiological diagnosis of osteomyelitis usually relies on blood cultures. Blood Cultures provide a microbiological diagnosis in ~60% of cases.

    Recommendation: Full blood count and CRP should be sent from all patients being treated with intravenous antimicrobials at baseline.
    [Evidence level D]
    CRP is more sensitive than ESR, increases and responds to treatment earlier. NB CRP is occasionally normal, at least initially, in acute haematogenous osteomyelitis. Baseline white cell count [WCC] can be helpful, again the WCC may be normal at least initially in acute haematogenous osteomyelitis.

    Recommendation: Bone biopsies should be undertaken in immunocompromised children, when tuberculosis is suspected, when the clinical and radiological diagnosis is uncertain, after treatment failure on first line therapy or if surgery is planned anyway.
    [Evidence level D]
    Bone biopsies are not essential in most children and Blood Cultures are the microbiological investigation of choice, however, in some situations obtaining microbiological confirmation is critical to successful therapy.

    Recommendation: Bone biopsies should be collected using aseptic technique and placed in sterile universal containers, where possible a portion of sample or fluid should be directly inoculated into a paediatric blood culture bottle.
    [Evidence level C/B]
    Kingella kingae can be difficult to grow and its recovery can be enhanced using blood culture media.

    Recommendation: Send a blood sample for Bartonella henselae serology in children with osteomyelitis, negative Blood Cultures and a history of cat exposure, such cases should be discussed with microbiology first.
    [Evidence level D]
    Bartonella henselae [the cause of cat scratch disease] is not culturable using routine microbiological techniques, PCR on bone biopsy or serology is required to make a diagnosis.

  2. Imaging
    Recommendation: plain x-rays of the affected bone[s] should be undertaken in all cases of suspected osteomyelitis.
    [Evidence level C]

    Bone lysis and periosteal elevation are the hallmarks of acute haematogenous osteomyelitis but are usually absent during the initial 10 days or so of the evolution of the disease. Children usually present within 2 or 3 days of symptom onset but plain Xrays are still helpful as a baseline and may occasionally demonstrate the painful limb is in fact broken or has some other pathological lesion.

    Recommendation: Ultrasound scanning of the affected bone[s] should be undertaken in children with clinical evidence of severe systemic infection and suspected osteomyelitis or if concomitant septic arthritis is suspected.
    [Evidence level D]

    Ultrasound is useful in selected cases to exclude involvement of adjacent joints [NB the proximal femoral metaphysis is one of the few intra-articular metaphyses and contiguous spread is not uncommon]. Ultrasound will also demonstrate subperiosteal abscess collection in the late presenting case or where medical treatment is failing. Urgent surgical drainage is required in both cases. Useful in the initial assessment of the septicaemic child.

    Recommendation: Magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] is imaging method of choice in all cases of suspected osteomyelitis of the spine and pelvis.
    [Evidence level C]
    MRI is very specific but only needed in the minority where diagnostic doubt remains. MRI is especially useful in axial disease of the pelvis and spine. General anaesthesia is often required to obtain diagnostic quality MRI in younger children.

    Recommendation: Isotope bone scanning is not recommended for routine investigation of osteomyelitis.
    [Evidence level D]
    Isotope bone scanning has a very limited place in modern management but may help in cases where multifocal disease is suspected [or MRI scanning not available].

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Treatment
Non-Antimicrobial Treatment

Resuscitation
Fluid resuscitation as necessary

Analgesia
Pain relief and splintage of adjacent joint in a cast as necessary, according to existing protocols.

Surgery
Surgery has a limited place in the management of acute haematogenous osteomyelitis. Drainage of superiosteal abscesses and contiguous joint collections is essential. Suspicion is raised by gross swelling, persistent spiking temperatures and failure to improve with medical treatment. Ultrasound is an excellent highly specific, easily obtained and well-tolerated examination in such cases. It can also be repeated very easily.
Surgery may also be required for particularly virulent pathogens e.g. PVL-positive staphylococci.

Surgery may also be required to obtain bone biopsies in immunocompromised children, when tuberculosis is suspected, when the clinical and radiological diagnosis is uncertain, or after treatment failure on first line therapy.

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Empirical Antimicrobial Treatment

DO NOT START ANTIMICROBIALS UNTIL Blood Cultures HAVE BEEN TAKEN.

  1. Recommended therapy for children and infants age 1 month to 5 years:
    Intravenous Cefuroxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefuroxime (50–60 mg/kg (max. 1.5 grams) every 6–8 hours)
    [Evidence level C]

  2. Recommended therapy children age 5 years to 16 years:
    Intravenous Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Flucloxacillin (50 mg/kg (max. 2 grams) every 6 hours.),
    [Evidence level C]
    add Cefotaxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefotaxime in severe sepsis (50 mg/kg (max. 2 grams) every 6 hours)
    [Evidence level D]

  3. Recommended therapy for children and infants age 1 month to 16 years with a true immediate-type penicillin allergy:
    Intravenous Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin (15 mg/kg every 8 hours (do not exceed an initial maximum of 2 grams/day). Adjust dose according to plasma concentrations, aim for ‘trough’ levels of 10-20mg/L) PLUS
    Intravenous Ciprofloxacin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Ciprofloxacin (10 mg/kg (max. 400 mg) every 8 hours)
    [Evidence level D]

  4. Recommended therapy children and infants age 1 month to 16 years with a previous MRSA infection or colonisation:
    Intravenous Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin (15 mg/kg every 8 hours (not exceed an initial maximum of 2 grams/day). Adjust dose according to plasma concentrations, aim for ‘trough’ levels of 10-20mg/L) PLUS
    Intravenous Cefuroxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefuroxime (50–60 mg/kg (max. 1.5 grams) every 6–8 hours).
    [Evidence level D]

    There is little high level evidence to direct the choice of appropriate antimicrobial therapy and some data is extrapolated from treatment of adults. Ampicillin-subactam has been compared with Ceftriaxone electronic Medicines Compendium information on Ceftriaxone in a randomised study of treatment for skin, joint and bone infections in children (Kulhanjian et al., 1989) Ceftriaxone electronic Medicines Compendium information on Ceftriaxone had a satisfactory clinical and microbiological response in 93% compared to 100% with Ampicillin-subactam. Notably, Ceftriaxone electronic Medicines Compendium information on Ceftriaxone failed in two cases of Staphylococcus aureus infection and is not therefore recommended as a routine empirical agent. Although aztreonam was considered by the guideline development team to be the most appropriate option in children with a true immediate-type penicillin allergy, current supply issues mean that it is not reliably available. It was agreed that Ciprofloxacin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Ciprofloxacin was the most appropriate alternative.

  5. Recommendation: Initial antimicrobial therapy for osteomyelitis should be intravenous.
    [Evidence level D]

    Reliable IV access is a prerequisite and whilst initial access using a peripheral cannula is adequate if the course is longer than 3-4 days repeat cannulation is almost inevitable and experience shows that in unusual/protracted cases it is better to arrange insertion of a PICC [peripherally inserted central catheter] in theatre at an early stage rather than try and persevere with painful, serially inadequate peripheral cannulae. If a child requires a general anaesthetic for surgical exploration and evacuation of pus a PICC should be inserted at the same time.

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Directed Antimicrobial Treatment (when microbiology results are known)

In culture negative cases directed therapy is not possible but empirically in >90%+ cases monotherapy with Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Flucloxacillin is appropriate. In a child commenced on Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Flucloxacillin and Cefotaxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefotaxime for severe sepsis and suspected meningococcal infection, Cefotaxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefotaxime can usually be stopped if Blood Cultures do not grow meningococci and meningococcal PCR on blood samples is negative.

Directed antimicrobial regimens, when a pathogen is identified from Blood Cultures or bone samples are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Directed antimicrobial regimens for osteomyelitis in children and infants. Provided isolate is susceptible.

Pathogen

Initial treatment

Oral antibiotic switch and recommended doses

Antimicrobial Agent

Dose

Antimicrobial Agent[s]

Dose

Staphylococcus aureus [meticillin susceptible]

IV Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Flucloxacillin

50 mg/kg (max. 2 grams) every 6 hours.

PO Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Flucloxacillin

25 mg/kg (max. 1gram) 4 times daily. Ensure dose is taken 1 hour before food to improve absorption.

Previously doses of up to 2grams 4 times daily have been prescribed but are associated with a high incidence of GI side effects (nausea and diarrhoea).

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (250mg or 500mg).

Oral Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Flucloxacillin liquid 125mg/5mL and 250mg/5mL is available. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure. Normally 250mg/5mL strength Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Flucloxacillin liquid will be dispensed to minimise the volume.

Second choice (e.g. true allergy to first choice, depending on susceptiblity)

IV Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin

OR

10 mg/kg every 6 hours (max. 1.2 grams 4 times daily in life-threatening infections).

PO Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin

6 mg/kg (max. 450mg) 4 times daily.
For children with a body-weight under 10 kg, minimum dose 37.5 mg 3 times daily.

Patients/carers should discontinue Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin immediately and discuss with doctors if diarrhoea or colitis develops.

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (150mg or 300mg).

An unlicensed oral Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin liquid 75mg/5mL is available if required. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure.

IV Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin

15 mg/kg every 8 hours (do not exceed an initial maximum of 2 grams/day). Adjust dose according to plasma concentrations, aim for ‘trough’ Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin levels of 10-20mg/L.

Staphylococcus aureus [meticillin resistant]

IV Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin

PLUS

15 mg/kg every 8 hours (do not exceed an initial maximum of 2 grams/day). Adjust dose according to plasma concentrations, aim for ‘trough’ Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin levels of 10-20mg/L.

D/W Microbiology according to susceptibility

PO rifampicin

10 mg/kg (max. 600 mg) every 12 hours

Group A and B Beta-haemolytic streptococci

IV Benzyl penicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Benzyl penicillin

50 mg/kg every 6 hours (max. 2.4 grams every 4 hours)

PO Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin

25 mg/kg (max. 1gram) 3 times daily.

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (250mg or 500mg).

Oral Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin liquid 125mg/5mL and 250mg/5mL is available. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure. Normally 250mg/5mL strength Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin liquid will be dispensed to minimise the volume.

Second choice (e.g. true allergy to first choice)

IV Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin

15 mg/kg every 8 hours (do not exceed an initial maximum of 2 grams/day). Adjust dose according to plasma concentrations, aim for ‘trough’ levels of 10-20mg/L.

PO Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin

6 mg/kg (max. 450mg) 4 times daily.
For children with a body-weight under 10 kg, minimum dose 37.5 mg 3 times daily.

Patients/carers should discontinue clindamycin immediately and discuss with doctors if diarrhoea or colitis develops.

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (150mg or 300mg).

An unlicensed oral Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin liquid 75mg/5mL is available if required. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure.

Streptococcus pneumoniae

IV Benzyl penicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Benzyl penicillin

50 mg/kg every 6 hours (max. 2.4 grams every 4 hours)

PO Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin

25 mg/kg (max. 1gram) 3 times daily.

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (250mg or 500mg).

Oral Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin liquid 125mg/5mL and 250mg/5mL is available. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure. Normally 250mg/5mL strength Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin liquid will be dispensed to minimise the volume.

Second choice (e.g. true allergy to first choice)

IV Vancomycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Vancomycin

15 mg/kg every 8 hours (do not exceed an initial maximum of 2 grams/day). Adjust dose according to plasma concentrations, aim for ‘trough’ levels of 10-20mg/L.

PO Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin

6 mg/kg (max. 450mg) 4 times daily.
For children with a body-weight under 10 kg, minimum dose 37.5 mg 3 times daily.

Patients/carers should discontinue clindamycin immediately and discuss with doctors if diarrhoea or colitis develops.

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (150mg or 300mg).

An unlicensed oral Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin liquid 75mg/5mL is available if required. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure.

Neisseria meningitidis

IV Benzyl penicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Benzyl penicillin

50 mg/kg every 6 hours (max. 2.4 grams every 4 hours)

PO Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin

25 mg/kg (max. 1gram) 3 times daily.

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (250mg or 500mg).

Oral Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillinliquid 125mg/5mL and 250mg/5mL is available. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure. Normally 250mg/5mL strength Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin liquid will be dispensed to minimise the volume.

Second choice (e.g. true allergy to first choice)

D/W Microbiology according to susceptibility

D/W Microbiology according to susceptibility

Haemophilus influenzae (amoxicillin is preferred agent, choice depends on susceptibility

IV Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin

OR

50 mg/kg every 6 hours (max. 2 grams/dose)

D/W Microbiology according to susceptibility

IV Cefotaxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefotaxime

50 mg/kg every 8 hours, increased in life threatening or severe infection to 50 mg/kg every 12 hours (max. 12 grams daily).

Second choice (e.g. true allergy to first choice)

D/W Microbiology according to susceptibility

Kingella kingae

IV Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin

OR

50 mg/kg every 6 hours (max. 2 grams every 4 hours)

PO Cefalexin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefalexin

OR

25 mg/kg (max. 1gram) 4 times daily.

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (250mg or 500mg).

Oral Cefalexin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefalexin liquid 125mg/5mL and 250mg/5mL is available. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure. Normally 250mg/5mL strength Cefalexin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefalexin liquid will be dispensed to minimise the volume

IV Cefuroxime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefuroxime

50–60 mg/kg (max. 1.5 grams) every 6 hours.

PO Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin

25 mg/kg (max. 1gram) 3 times daily.

For children able to swallow capsules round the prescribed dose to the nearest capsule size (250mg or 500mg).

Oral Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin liquid 125mg/5mL and 250mg/5mL is available. When prescribing oral liquid round the prescribed dose to one that is easy to measure. Normally 250mg/5mL strength Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin liquid will be dispensed to minimise the volume.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa (choice depends on susceptibility, discuss with microbiology. NB. antibiotics are listed in order of preference.)

IV Ceftazidime electronic Medicines Compendium information on Ceftazidime

OR

50 mg/kg every 8 hours (max. 6 grams daily).

D/W Microbiology according to susceptibility

IV Piperacillin/tazobactam electronic Medicines Compendium information on Piperacillin/tazobactam

90 mg/kg every 8 hours; (max 4.5 grams every 6 hours). (Note: the mg/kg dose stated is that of the combined piperacillin and tazobactam product)

IV Meropenem electronic Medicines Compendium information on Meropenem

20 mg/kg every 8 hours (max. 2 grams every 8 hours)

Second choice (e.g. true allergy to first choice)

D/W Microbiology according to susceptibility

Note: Dose reductions may be required in patients with hepatic or renal impairment, consult product literature or pharmacy for further information. When prescribing high dose oral antibiotics (e.g. Amoxicillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Amoxicillin, Flucloxacillin electronic Medicines Compendium information on FlucloxacillinCefalexin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Cefalexin Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin) patients may experience an increase in gastrointestinal upset (nausea and diarrhoea)

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Duration of Treatment

Surprisingly little scientific evidence exists on the length of the treatment course. Animal model work has demonstrated that treatment of osteomyelitis with Clindamycin electronic Medicines Compendium information on Clindamycin is more effective at three weeks than after one weeks treatment (Mayberry-Carson et al., 1986). Treatment failures are more frequent in adults following shorter courses of treatment e.g. less than 4-6 weeks but equivalent data for children is not available.

The standard duration of therapy is usually 6 weeks though this seems to be largely on the basis of common “custom and practice” and not on validated human studies. It has been suggested that if the infection is diagnosed and treated during the initial bone “cellulitic” phase before bone destruction occurs [as manifest by a bone defect on Xray] then a three week course of antibiotics will suffice. We have little experience of this management and have concerns about the validity of a diagnosis of osteomyelitis without radiological evidence of bony involvement. We therefore prefer to adhere to the time honoured six week course. On the whole a long course of high dose antibiotics is reasonably well-tolerated by children.

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Switch to oral agent(s)

Initial IV treatment in acute haematogenous osteomyelitis is mandatory. If the clinical response is good [usual case] as indicated by the child’s general well-being [feeding etc], rapidly resolving temperature and rapidly falling CRP [preferably<20] then oral antibiotics can be substituted.

In such rapid responders there is evidence that long IV courses are unnecessary (Zaoutis et al., 2009). Our experience is that a minimum of 3-4 days IV treatment is needed and in favourable cases oral treatment can then be substituted.

Hospital discharge should be at least 24 hrs after switch to confirm continuing improvement.

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Treatment Failure

Slow/non-responders: In patients that failure to respond by 96 hours, the causative pathogen may not be covered by empirical regimens or abscess formation/adjacent joint sepsis may be compromising antimicrobial activity. Surgical drainage may be required.

Recommendation: Discuss with senior orthopaedic surgeon and microbiology.

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Provenance

Record: 1932
Objective:

Aims

  • To standardize and improve the diagnosis and management of osteomyelitis in children and infants >4 weeks and <16 years.

Objectives

  • To provide evidence-based recommendations for appropriate diagnosis and investigation of acute haematogenous osteomyelitis in children
  • To provide evidence-based recommendations for appropriate empirical or directed antimicrobial therapy of acute haematogenous osteomyelitis in children
  • To recommend appropriate dose, route of administration and duration of antimicrobial agents.
  • To advise in the event of antimicrobial allergy.
  • To advise in the event of atypical clinical progress.
Clinical condition:

Osteomyeltits in children

Target patient group: all children with osteomyelitis
Target professional group(s): Secondary Care Doctors
Secondary Care Nurses
Pharmacists
Adapted from:

Evidence base

References

Berbari, E. F., Steckelberg, J. M. & Osmon, D. R. (2005). Osteomyelitis. In Mandell, Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, pp. 1322-1332. Edited by G. L. Mandell, J. E. Bennett & R. Dolin. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone.

British Medical Association, The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (2009). British National Formulary for Children (BNFC). London: British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. http://bnfc.org/bnfc/

Chometon, S., Benito, Y., Chaker, M., Boisset, S., Ploton, C., Berard, J., Vandenesch, F. & Freydiere, A. M. (2007). Specific real-time polymerase chain reaction places Kingella kingae as the most common cause of osteoarticular infections in young children. The Pediatric infectious disease journal 26, 377-381.

de Kort, J. G., Robben, S. G., Schrander, J. J. & van Rhijn, L. W. (2006). Multifocal osteomyelitis in a child: a rare manifestation of cat scratch disease: a case report and systematic review of the literature. Journal of pediatric orthopaedics 15, 285-288.

Kulhanjian, J., Dunphy, M. G., Hamstra, S., Levernier, K., Rankin, M., Petru, A. & Azimi, P. (1989). Randomized comparative study of ampicillin/sulbactam vs. ceftriaxone for treatment of soft tissue and skeletal infections in children. The Pediatric infectious disease journal 8, 605-610.

Mayberry-Carson, K. J., Tober-Meyer, B., Lambe, D. W., Jr. & Costerton, J. W. (1986). An electron microscopic study of the effect of clindamycin therapy on bacterial adherence and glycocalyx formation in experimental Staphylococcus aureus osteomyelitis. Microbios 48, 189-206.

Rasmont, Q., Yombi, J. C., Van der Linden, D. & Docquier, P. L. (2008). Osteoarticular infections in Belgian children: a survey of clinical, biological, radiological and microbiological data. Acta orthopaedica Belgica 74, 374-385.

Yagupsky, P., Dagan, R., Howard, C. W., Einhorn, M., Kassis, I. & Simu, A. (1992). High prevalence of Kingella kingae in joint fluid from children with septic arthritis revealed by the BACTEC blood culture system. J Clin Microbiol 30, 1278-1281.

Zaoutis, T., Localio, A. R., Leckerman, K., Saddlemire, S., Bertoch, D. & Keren, R. (2009). Prolonged intravenous therapy versus early transition to oral antimicrobial therapy for acute osteomyelitis in children. Pediatrics 123, 636-642.

Evidence levels:
A. Meta-analyses, randomised controlled trials/systematic reviews of RCTs
B. Robust experimental or observational studies
C. Expert consensus.
D. Leeds consensus. [where no national guidance exists or there is wide disagreement with a level C recommendation or where national guidance documents contradict each other]

Approved By

Improving Antimicrobial Prescribing Group

Document history

LHP version 1.0

Related information

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