Bone and joint tuberculosis in paediatrics: a 13-year retrospective study

Catarina Gouveia, Mafalda Félix Cabral, Pedro Jordão, João Campagnolo, Jorge Mineiro, Helena Peres, Carla Conceição, Tiago Milheiro Silva, Luís Varandas, Maria João Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. Bone and joint tuberculosis (BJTB) is rare in developed countries, particularly in the paediatric population.Hypothesis/Gap Statement. The clinical features and sequelae of paediatric BJTB in Europe are not well characterized and should be assessed to achieve a better approach.Aim. To assess the management and outcomes of paediatric BJTB.Methodology. Longitudinal observational study of all paediatric patients (0-17 years old) diagnosed with BJTB between 2008 to 2020 in a tertiary-care hospital.Results. We identified 18 patients with BJTB, with a median age of 10 years (IQR 6-14.8), 66.7 % male. Most (72 %) were diagnosed after 2015 and were foreign-born (88.9 %), mainly from Portuguese-speaking African countries, and none had HIV. The most common symptoms were pain (77.8 %), fever (50 %) and bone deformity (44.4 %). Spinal TB (STB) affected 13 (72.2 %) and extra-spinal TB (ESTB) 9 (50 %) patients, and 4 (27.7 %) had both conditions. Diagnostic positive procedures included positive nucleic acid amplification technique (NAAT) (44.4 %), Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolation (44.4 %) and compatible histology (33.3 %). All completed antituberculous drugs for a median of 12 months (IQR 12-13) and nine (50 %) had surgery. Overall, acute complications occurred in 16 (88.9 %) patients - 11/13 (84.6 %) with STB and 5/5 (100 %) with ESTB - and included abscesses, spinal compression, spine deformity and pathological fractures. Sequelae were still present at the 12-month follow-up in seven cases (46.7 %), and were more common in foreign-born patients sent to Portugal to receive medical treatment (66.7 vs 20 %).Conclusions. Paediatric BJTB is difficult to diagnose and has high morbidity, requiring long-term follow-up. Over the last decade, foreign-born TB seems to be increasing, with still longer treatment courses and more acute complications and sequelae.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • bone and joint infections
  • paediatric
  • tuberculosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Bone and joint tuberculosis in paediatrics: a 13-year retrospective study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this