During a 10-year period 217 cases of acute haematogenous osteitis were treated. In 131 patients the diagnosis was confirmed either radiologically or bacteriologically, but in the other 86 the diagnosis was based on clinical examination. Either cloxacillin or lincomycin proved to be effective if given before bacteriological diagnosis. Frequent clinical examination, assessing both local signs and the child's general state, will decide which child requires surgery (which should be reserved for the toxic child, the child with concomitant medical disorders lowering host resistance, and the child who does not respond to, or has a lesion which flares up after, initial conservative treatment). Constant vigilance is required by clinicians looking after children with this disease in order to reduce the disabling long-term sequelae.
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