JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Histopathological Osteomyelitis Evaluation Score (HOES) - an innovative approach to histopathological diagnostics and scoring of osteomyelitis.

BACKGROUND: Treatment and diagnosis of osteomyelitis are still a challenging problem for surgeons, microbiologists and histopathologists. A direct microbiological detection of bacteria in tissues is still gold standard, but it is not always successful for example in chronic osteomyelitis and/or when an antibiotic treatment has already been started or in cases of low virulent bacteria. The goal of this study was to define diagnostic criteria of osteomyelitis, the inflammatory regression of osteomyelitis ("osteomyelitis score") under specific therapy by the correlation of histopathological and microbiological and clinical standard tests.

METHODS: In this retrospective analysis patients with medical history and clinically clear signs of bacterial infection and osteomyelitis underwent surgery between 01.01.2013 and 31.12.2012. Their formal consent was given. Tissue samples were taken during surgery according to defined criteria including surgical interventions. Histopathological diagnosis was carried out by conventional techniques based on defined criteria of bacterial infection in connective tissue, peri-implant membrane and bone. These results were carried out in tables by numbers representing the histopathological criteria of acute osteomyelitis (A1 to A3) as well as the chronic criteria (C1 and C2) in a semiquantitative way (scale 0 to 3). On the other hand a notational, graduated histopathological report was performed. Preoperative clinical diagnosis, perioperative macroscopic diagnosis, histopathological and microbiological findings were correlated.

RESULTS: Histopathological samples of 52 surgical interventions based on the preoperative diagnosis "osteomyelitis" (AOM, ECOM or COM) were included. 37 times preoperatively signs of a chronic osteomyelitis (COM), 10 times preoperatively acute osteomyelitis (AOM) was diagnosed. Another 5 patients were preoperatively diagnosed as acute exacerbated osteomyelitis (ECOM). The correlation of the histopathological infection including the inflammatory activity and microbiological detection of bacteria was 57%. The correlation between preoperative diagnosis and histopathological findings was 68%.

CONCLUSION: The relatively small 68% correlation between clinical preoperative and histopathological diagnosis and 57% correlation between preoperative clinical diagnosis and microbiological findings indicates: Clinical findings are not sufficient for the diagnosis "osteomyelitis".Clinical findings are not sufficient for the differentiation between AOM, ECOM and COM.Histopathological analysis is the critical factor for the diagnosis ("osteomyelitis") and differential diagnosis (AOM vs. COM).Histopathological analysis represents the basis for further treatment.HOES facilitates the classification of the histopathological findings.HOES is a sufficient tool for the treating physician in order to define the further treatment.

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