Poor performance of microbiological sampling in the prediction of recurrent arthroplasty infection

Schindler, Maximilian ; Christofilopoulos, Panayiotis ; Wyssa, Blaise ; Belaieff, Wilson ; Garzoni, Christian ; Bernard, Louis ; Lew, Daniel ; Hoffmeyer, Pierre ; Uçkay, Ilker

In: International Orthopaedics, 2011, vol. 35, no. 5, p. 647-654

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    During a two-stage revision for prosthetic joint infections (PJI), joint aspirations, open tissue sampling and serum inflammatory markers are performed before re-implantation to exclude ongoing silent infection. We investigated the performance of these diagnostic procedures on the risk of recurrence of PJI among asymptomatic patients undergoing a two-stage revision. A total of 62 PJI were found in 58 patients. All patients had intra-operative surgical exploration during re-implantation, and 48 of them had intra-operative microbiological swabs. Additionally, 18 joint aspirations and one open biopsy were performed before second-stage reimplantation. Recurrence or persistence of PJI occurred in 12 cases with a mean delay of 218days after re-implantation, but only four pre- or intraoperative invasive joint samples had grown a pathogen in cultures. In at least seven recurrent PJIs (58%), patients had a normal C-reactive protein (CRP, <10mg/l) level before re-implantation. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive values of pre-operative invasive joint aspiration and CRP for the prediction of PJI recurrence was 0.58, 0.88, 0.5, 0.84 and 0.17, 0.81, 0.13, 0.86, respectively. As a conclusion, pre-operative joint aspiration, intraoperative bacterial sampling, surgical exploration and serum inflammatory markers are poor predictors of PJI recurrence. The onset of reinfection usually occurs far later than reimplantation