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Emergency Medical Minute


Apr 25, 2022

Contributor: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Olecranon bursitis refers to inflammation in the bursa of the elbow and can be due to infection or trauma
  • Recent study examined treating suspected septic olecranon bursitis with antibiotics versus drainage
  • About 90% of the patients treated with antibiotic therapy for this issue did not require subsequent drainage or hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics
  • Consider treating suspected olecranon bursitis with antibiotic therapy and good return precautions rather than defaulting to drainage


Beyde A, Thomas AL, Colbenson KM, et al. Efficacy of empiric antibiotic management of septic olecranon bursitis without bursal aspiration in emergency department patients. Acad Emerg Med. 2022;29(1):6-14. doi:10.1111/acem.14406

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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