The outcome of patients with cultured pathogens at time of nonunion surgery


Nonunion, Outcomes, Infection, Culture Positive, Inflammatory Markers

Published online: Mar 30 2018

David P. Taormina, Brandon S. Shulman, James H. Lee, Raj J. Karia, Alejandro I. Marcano , Kenneth A. Egol

From the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases


The purpose of this study is to evaluate incidence, preoperative laboratory markers, and outcomes of patients who positively cultured pathogens (PCP) at time of surgery for long bone fracture nonunion.

Two-hundred and eighty-eight patients were enrolled in a trauma study on long bone nonunion. Two- hundred and sixteen of those 288 patients were cultured at the time of fracture nonunion surgery. Laboratory data were collected prior to intervention and infectious laboratory markers ordered on patients suspected for infection. Patients were followed for one year. Wound complications, antibiotic use, healing, function, and re-admission for further surgery were assessed.

Cultures returned positive on 59 patients (representing 20.5% of the 288 patient cohort or 27.3% of the 216 patients cultured in the operative suite). More PCP’s (47.5%; 28 of 59) developed wound complications, with greater mean antibiotic duration and more frequent returns to the OR averaging 1.3 procedures per patient. Twelve-month follow-up was obtained on 249 of the 288 (86.5%) and PCPs reported globally worse function.

Patients who PCP at the time of operative management for long bone nonunion was a prognostic indicator of poorer long-term functional outcomes.