The detection and identification of pathogenic microorganisms are essential for the treatment of osteoarticular infection. However, obtaining a sufficient amount of specimen from pediatric patients is often difficult. Herein, we aimed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the blood culture bottle (BCB) system in pediatric osteoarticular infections. We hypothesized that our BCB culture method is superior to the conventional swab and tissue culture methods in terms of required specimen size, incubation time, and microbial identification rate.
We analyzed the prospectively collected data of pediatric patients who underwent surgical treatment for osteoarticular infections between August 2016 and October 2019. Four needles were dipped in the infected fluid or tissue during the surgical procedure as soon as the infected area was exposed and were used to inoculate 2 aerobic pediatric BCBs and 2 anaerobic general BCBs. We also collected 2 conventional swab samples and 2 tissue samples from the identical area. The microbial identification rate and the time required for identification were compared between BCB, swab, and tissue cultures.
Forty patients constituted the study group; 13 patients had osteomyelitis, 17 patients had septic arthritis, and 10 patients had both. Of these 40 patients, the microbial identification rate was higher with BCB cultures (27 [68%]) than with swab cultures (18 [45%]; p = 0.004) or tissue cultures (15 [38%]; p < 0.001). Nine samples (9 patients [23%]) were only positive in the BCB culture. Positive microbial growth was not detected with conventional culture methods when microorganisms did not grow on the BCB culture. Compared with swab culture (4.3 ± 1.1 days; p < 0.001) or tissue culture (4.4 ± 1.1 days; p < 0.001), the BCB culture reduced the time required for microbial identification (3.5 ± 0.9 days).
In pediatric osteoarticular infections, the BCB culture system improved the microbial identification rate, reduced the time to identification, and permitted a smaller-volume specimen, compared with traditional culture systems.
Diagnostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.