Diagnosis of Pediatric Musculoskeletal Infections: Current Concepts Review

Volume 8 | Issue 1 | January-April 2022 | Page: 14-23 | Neeraj Vij, Jessica Burns, Melissa Esparza, Alexandra Dominianni, Yerin Cho, Mohan V Belthur


Authors: Neeraj Vij BS [1], Jessica Burns MD [2], Melissa Esparza MD [2], Alexandra Dominianni BA [1], Yerin Cho BS [1], Mohan V Belthur MD [1, 2]

[1] Department of Child Health & Orthopaedics, University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
[2] Department of Orthopedics, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Address of Correspondence
Dr. Mohan V. Belthur,
Department of Child Health & Orthopaedics, University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Department of Orthopedics, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
E-mail: mbelthur@phoenixchildrens.com


Introduction: Pediatric musculoskeletal infections are common and constitute one of the top five conditions contributing to the burden of musculoskeletal disease in childhood. With early accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the clinical course, and outcomes of musculoskeletal infections can be favorable. However, poor outcomes (morbidity/mortality), a wide spectrum of post-infective sequela and significant functional impairment can occur, especially in the setting of delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment. The purpose of this narrative review is to provide an overview of the standard diagnostic modalities with an emphasis on the recent literature and to summarize the current state of knowledge on the newer diagnostic modalities of the 21rst century.
Materials and Methods: A literature search was performed using the following keywords: “diagnosis”, OR “diagnostic modalities”, OR “diagnostic capability” AND “children” OR “pediatric” AND “musculoskeletal” OR “bony” OR “orthopedic” OR “muscular” AND “infection” OR “bacterial” OR “viral” OR “fungal”. Databases searched included PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and SCOPUS. This returned a total of 315 articles. English language articles published between January 1990 and March 2022 regarding traditional or newer diagnostic modalities and pediatric musculoskeletal infection were included in this review.
Results: A total of 62 articles met the inclusion criteria. Our knowledge base regarding the traditional diagnostic modalities has evolved to include several scoring systems with good sensitivities and specificities. Cellular acute phase reactants show promise in the recent literature. There is good literature regarding the evolution of imaging techniques to improve diagnosis. Novel diagnostic modalities in the recent literature include plasma-based acute phase reactants, polymerase chain reaction, and next-generation sequencing.
Conclusion: Continuing to improve our diagnostic accuracy of Pediatric MSKIs can help decrease the worldwide burden of these conditions. As the use of adjunctive biomarkers becomes more common, diagnoses and pathogen identification could be made timelier and antibiotic choices could be individualized leading to improved outcomes. Limited sequence imaging techniques can reduce the associated costs. Polymerase chain reaction and next generation sequencing are important novel technologies that can revolutionize the diagnosis of pediatric musculoskeletal infection.
Keywords:  Paediatric, Musculoskeletal infection, Diagnosis.


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How to Cite this Article:  Vij N, Burns J, Esparza M, Dominianni A, Cho Y, Belthur MV | Septic Arthritis Management: Current Guidelines | International Journal of Paediatric Orthopaedics | January-April 2022; 8(1): 14-23.

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