Author(s): Hasan S Merali, Jonathan Reisman, Linda T Wang
Acute hematogenous osteomyelitis has an annual incidence of approximately 2 to 13 cases per 100,000 persons in developed countries. It can be difficult to diagnose in pediatric patients due to the condition's often vague presentation. However, it is critical for the emergency clinician to be able to properly identify osteomyelitis, as it can have devastating consequences if left untreated. Because this is a relatively rare condition, there is limited evidence to guide the management, and there is a lack of standardized guidelines. In this issue, a systematic approach to the workup and treatment of a child who presents with possible acute hematogenous osteomyelitis is discussed. The most critical components of the history and physical examination, diagnostic studies, and treatment options are reviewed, including algorithms to guide management. Special populations are given consideration throughout the discussion, and management algorithms are provided.