Ayla Yagdiran, Christina Otto-Lambertz, Kristina Michaela Lingscheid, Krishnan Sircar, Christina Samel, Max Joseph Scheyerer, Kourosh Zarghooni, Peer Eysel, Rolf Sobottke, Norma Jung, Jan Siewe

June 2021, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 1721 - 1731 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06519-z

First Online: 01 July 2020


Vertebral osteomyelitis (VO) has a high mortality and leads to chronic pain and functional disability. Surgical treatment is often necessary. To date, little is known about the consequences of surgery on patient outcome. The aim of this study was to determine the quality of life (QoL) and mortality rates of surgically treated VO patients for a period of 2 years.


Patients with VO undergoing surgical treatment in a tertiary referral hospital from 2008 to 2015 were included prospectively. Data were collected before (T0) as well as 1 year (T1) and 2 years (T2) post-surgery. Within the European Spine Tango registry, prospective patient and QoL data were collected using validated outcome scores: Oswestry Disability Index, Short Form 36/EuroQol, Visual Analog Scale, and Core Outcome Measures Index.


From 195 patients surgically treated for VO, QoL data were available from 136 patients at T0, 100 patients at T1, and 82 patients at T2, respectively. The 1- and 2-year mortality rates were 20% and 23%. Mainly all QoL outcome scores showed significant improvement at T1 and did not change significantly from T1 to T2.


Surgical treatment of VO patients leads to significantly improved QoL. Nevertheless, QoL levels were below those of the general population. Our results underscore that spine disability questionnaires measuring QoL are mandatory to demonstrate comprehensively the severity of this entity. Our study confirms a high mortality and points out the role of VO as a potentially life-threatening condition.

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