Occult Vertebral Osteomyelitis, a Diagnostic Conundrum

Brijesh Patel, Adam Forman, Vilma Drelichman, Michael Marshall


Vertebral osteomyelitis is a well-known but uncommon condition. Typical presenting features include fever, back pain with local tenderness and neurologic symptoms. In absence of these typical findings, vertebral osteomyelitis can be difficult to diagnose. Staphylococcus species are the most common causes. In most cases, inflammatory markers are elevated. Blood cultures can be very useful to identify the culprit organism(s). Though various imaging modalities are available, an MRI is considered gold standard for the diagnosis. Our patient presents with non-specific abdominal pain that masqueraded vertebral osteomyelitis leading to paralysis.

J Med Cases. 2014;5(9):505-508
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14740/jmc1753w


Vertebral osteomyelitis; WBC scan; Abdominal pain; Pleural effusion

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