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      Surgical treatment of Candida albicans spondylodiscitis


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          Spinal infection poses a demanding diagnostic and treatment problem for which a multidisciplinary approach with spine surgeons, radiologists, and infectious disease specialists is required. Infections are usually caused by bacterial microorganisms, although fungal infections can also occur. Most patients with spinal infections diagnosed in the early stages can be successfully managed conservatively with antibiotics, bed rest, and spinal braces. In cases of gross or pending instability, progressive neurological deficits, failure of conservative treatment, spinal abscess formation, severe symptoms indicating sepsis, and failure of previous conservative treatment, surgical treatment is required.

          Case presentation:

          A 64-year-old male presented to the Outpatient Department with a complaint of pain in bilateral upper extremities for 4 months. The pain was shooting in type, radiating to bilateral arms, forearms, and hands with no aggravating and relieving factors. He is a known case of carcinoma pyriform sinus for which he underwent various cycles of chemotherapy. Ten years later, a tracheostomy was performed for laryngeal edema, and again, an endoscopic gastrostomy was performed due to feeding difficulties. He then developed fever and cervical pain along with pain in the bilateral upper extremities. An infectious etiology was suspected for which multiple antibiotics were started with no positive response. An MRI was performed, which was suggestive of spondylodiscitis probably of tubercular origin. A biopsy was done to confirm the diagnosis, following which antitubercular (HRZE) therapy was started. He was also treated with Duloxetine and gabapentin, which resulted in minor improvements. Subsequent MRIs showed diffuse involvement of the multiple cervical vertebrae along with cord compression. Two stages of anterior corpectomy followed by posterior instrumentation were done. Following the procedure, the patient developed an infection, which was managed with antibiotics. The titanium implant was not removed. A muscle graft was planned with the pectoralis muscle and flap closure was done. The tissue was also sent for Gram stain, AFB stain, and GeneXpert, which showed normal findings. Finally, in tissue culture, Candida albicans was isolated. On performing the enzyme immunoassay test, it was found to be Aspergillus (Galactomannan antigen) positive as well. Antitubercular treatment was stopped. Then, he was managed with an antifungal, oral voriconazole, for the duration of 1 and a half years.

          Clinical discussion:

          Patients diagnosed with Candida spondylodiscitis tend to have favorable outcomes, likely linked to timely identification, thorough surgical debridement, and proper azole medication. Our case achieved success by promptly identifying and confirming it through tissue culture, detecting spinal cord compression, decompressing it, and initiating specific antifungal treatment. A delay in commencing antifungal therapy has been associated with poorer outcomes, especially in neurological health. Our patient received voriconazole for a full year, suggesting that favorable outcomes are achievable for fungal spondylodiscitis with swift and appropriate surgery and antifungal medication.


          In summary, evaluation for fungal infection is essential in all cases of unexplained spinal infection in immunocompromised patients, regardless of presentation. If the antifungal treatment proves ineffective, a surgical approach is typically employed for the management of fungal spondylodiscitis. Our report details a successful case of fungal spondylodiscitis treated with a surgical approach and highlights the potential for a fungal infection to be a causative factor in noncompressive myelopathy, which may be sometimes mistaken for radiation myelitis.

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          Most cited references21

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          The SCARE 2020 Guideline: Updating Consensus Surgical CAse REport (SCARE) Guidelines

          The SCARE Guidelines were first published in 2016 and were last updated in 2018. They provide a structure for reporting surgical case reports and are used and endorsed by authors, journal editors and reviewers, in order to increase robustness and transparency in reporting surgical cases. They must be kept up to date in order to drive forwards reporting quality. As such, we have updated these guidelines via a DELPHI consensus exercise.
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            Hematogenous pyogenic spinal infections and their surgical management.

            Mainly a retrospective study of 101 cases of pyogenic spinal infection, excluding postoperative infections. Data were obtained through medical record review, imaging examination, and patient follow-up evaluation. Hematogenous pyogenic spinal infection has been described variously as spondylodiscitis, discitis, vertebral osteomyelitis, and epidural abscess. Recommended treatment options have included conservative methods (antibiotics and bracing) and surgical intervention. However, a comprehensive classification that would aid in diagnosis, treatment planning, and prognosis has not yet been devised. To analyze the bacteriology, pathologic entities, complications, and results of treatment options for pyogenic spinal infection. All patients received plain radiographs, gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging scans, and bone/gallium radionuclide studies. All patients had tissue biopsies. Bacteriology, hematology, and predisposing factors were analyzed. All patients received intravenous and oral antibiotics. A total of 58 patients underwent surgery. Patient outcomes were correlated with clinical status, with treatment method and, where applicable, with location and nature of epidural compression. Statistical analyses were performed. Spondylodiscitis occurred most commonly with primary epidural abscess, spondylitis, discitis, and pyogenic facet arthropathy, all occurring rarely. Staphylococcus aureus was the main organism. Infection elsewhere was the most common predisposing factor. Leukocyte counts were elevated in 42.6% of spondylodiscitis cases. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate was elevated in all cases of epidural abscess. There were 35 cases of epidural abscess (frank abscess, 29; granulation tissue, 6). Epidural abscess complicating spondylodiscitis occurred most often in the cervical spine, followed by thoracic and lumbar areas. The rate of paraplegia or paraparesis also was highest in cervical and thoracic regions. There were no cases of quadriplegia. All patients with either epidural granulation tissue or paraparesis recovered completely after surgical decompression. Only 18% of patients with frank epidural abscess and 23% of patients with paralysis recovered completely after surgical decompression. Patients with spondylodiscitis who were treated nonsurgically reported residual back pain more often (64%) than patients treated surgically (26.3%). Pyogenic spinal infection can be thought of as a spectrum of disease comprising spondylitis, discitis, spondylodiscitis, pyogenic facet arthropathy, and epidural abscess. Spondylodiscitis is more prone to develop epidural abscesses in the cervical spine (90%) than the thoracic (33.3%) or lumbar (23.6%) areas. Thecal sac neurocompression has a greater chance of causing neurologic deficit in the thoracic spine (81.8%). Treatment of neurologic deficit caused by epidural abscess is prompt surgical decompression, with or without fusion. Patients with frank abscess had less favorable outcomes than those with granulation tissue, and paraplegia responded to treatment more poorly than paraparesis. Surgery was preferable to nonsurgical treatment for improving back pain.
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              Pyogenic, tuberculous, and brucellar vertebral osteomyelitis: a descriptive and comparative study of 219 cases.

              To describe a large series of patients with vertebral osteomyelitis (VO), and to compare the clinical, biological, radiological, and prognostic features of pyogenic (PVO), tuberculous (TVO), and brucellar vertebral osteomyelitis (BVO). A retrospective multicentre study, which included 219 adult patients with VO with confirmed aetiology, who were diagnosed between 1983 and 1995 in two tertiary care centres. Of these patients, 105 (48%) had BVO, 72 (33%) PVO, and 42 (19%) TVO. One hundred and forty eight (67.6%) patients were male and 71 (32.4%) female. The mean (SD) age was 50.4 (16.4) years (range 14-84) and the mean (SD) duration of symptoms before the diagnosis was 14 (16.8) weeks. In 127 patients (57.9%) the vertebral level involved was lumbar, in 70 (31.9%) thoracic, and in 16 (7.3%) cervical. One hundred and nineteen patients (54.4%) received only medical treatment and 100 (45.6%) required both medical and surgical treatment. The presence of diabetes mellitus, intravenous drug abuse, underlying chronic debilitating diseases or immunosuppression, previous infections, preceding bacteraemia, recent vertebral surgery, leucocytosis, neutrophilia, and increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were significantly associated to PVO. A prolonged clinical course, thoracic segment involvement, absence of fever, presence of spinal deformity, neurological deficit, and paravertebral or epidural masses, were significantly more frequent in the group of TVO. The need for surgical treatment and the presence of severe functional sequelae were more frequent in the groups of PVO and TVO. There are significant clinical, biological, radiological, and prognostic differences between BVO, PVO, and TVO. These differences can point to the causal agent and orient the initial empirical medical treatment while awaiting a final microbiological diagnosis.

                Author and article information

                Ann Med Surg (Lond)
                Ann Med Surg (Lond)
                Annals of Medicine and Surgery
                Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (Hagerstown, MD )
                September 2023
                24 July 2023
                : 85
                : 9
                : 4575-4580
                [a ]Department of neuro-orthopedic, HAMS Hospital, Dhumbarai
                [b ]Department of Plastic Surgery and Burns, TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal
                [c ]Ankara Spine Center, Iran Caddesi, Kavaklidere, Ankara, Turkey
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Address: HAMS Hospital, Dhumbarai, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal. Tel.: +977 984 127 1070; Fax: +014 785 165. E-mail: adhikariprashant@ 123456hotmail.com (P. Adhikari).
                AMSU-D-23-00993 00056
                Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

                : 29 April 2023
                : 15 July 2023
                Case Reports
                Custom metadata

                candida,case report,spine,spondylitis
                candida, case report, spine, spondylitis


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