The aim of this study was to analyze which are the main factors that could influence the result of a CT guided biopsy in vertebral osteomyelitis (VO) patients.

A single center retrospective observational study was performed including adult patients who had been diagnosed with VO and undergone CT guided needle biopsy from January 2010 to January 2020. Demographical features, concurrent diseases, laboratory findings, microbiological diagnosis, radiological data, medical complications, antibiotic exposure were compiled. Multivariate analysis was performed with a logistic regression comparing the patients depending on the culture result.

Seventy-seven patients were included in the study. Baseline characteristics were comparable between groups. Sample culture was positive in 43 cases (56%). Microorganism isolated were gram+(72%), gram-(14%), mycobacteria (7%) and fungi (7%). Delay in the procedure, antibiotic exposure and blood culture positivity were also similar among both groups. The biopsy results were not influenced by the CRP value, the presence of fever nor antibiotic exposure. The longer duration of back pain was associated to a lower probability of a positive culture.

In conclusion, our study displays an acceptable reliability of CT guided needle biopsy in VO patients, even in cases under antibiotic treatment. The presence of fever or CRP values did not predict a positive culture. Delay in diagnosis could impact negatively on culture yield.

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