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Gram-negative diabetic foot osteomyelitis: risk factors and clinical presentation.

Osteomyelitis frequently complicates infections in the feet of patients with diabetes. Gram-positive cocci, especially Staphylococcus aureus, are the most commonly isolated pathogens, but gram-negative bacteria also cause some cases of diabetic foot osteomyelitis (DFO). These gram-negatives require different antibiotic regimens than those commonly directed at gram-positives. There are, however, few data on factors related to their presence and how they influence the clinical picture. We conducted a retrospective study to determine the variables associated with the isolation of gram-negative bacteria from bone samples in cases of DFO and the clinical presentation of these infections. Among 341 cases of DFO, 150 had a gram-negative isolate (alone or combined with a gram-positive isolate) comprising 44.0% of all patients and 50.8% of those with a positive bone culture. Compared with gram-positive infections, wounds with gram-negative organisms more often had a fetid odor, necrotic tissue, signs of soft tissue infection accompanying osteomyelitis, and clinically severe infection. By multivariate analysis, the predictive variables related to an increased likelihood of isolating gram-negatives from bone samples were glycated hemoglobin <7% (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1-3.5) and a wound caused by traumatic injury (OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.0-3.9). Overall, patients whose bone samples contained gram-negatives had a statistically significantly higher prevalence of leukocytosis and higher white blood cell counts than those without gram-negatives. In conclusion, gram-negative organisms were isolated in nearly half of our cases of DFO and were associated with more severe infections, higher white blood cell counts, lower glycated hemoglobin levels, and wounds of traumatic etiology.

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