The Knee, ISSN: 0968-0160, Vol: 27, Issue: 3, Page: 1113-1119

Characterization of native knee microorganisms using next-generation sequencing in patients undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty

Torchia, Michael T; Amakiri, Ikechukwu; Werth, Paul; Moschetti, Wayne
Knee

Background

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) offers improved sensitivity compared to culture-based methods for identifying organisms from synovial joints. It remains unclear whether native microorganisms exist in a joint, and positive NGS results may be interpreted as pathologic when in fact they may represent this native microbiome. The purpose of this study was to characterize the native knee microorganism profile in patients undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

Methods

Forty consecutive patients with osteoarthritis undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty were enrolled prospectively. During TKA surgery but prior to arthrotomy, the native knee was aspirated and the fluid was sent for NGS analysis. Immediately after arthrotomy, four separate tissue samples were also sent for NGS analysis. All microbes identified by NGS were recorded.

Results

Twelve out of forty patients (30%) had at least one positive organism identified by NGS from their native knee. Of those with positive NGS results, 9/12 (75%) had more than one organism identified (range two to 11). There were no significant differences in demographics, comorbidities, or incidence of prior knee injections between the two groups. There were 48 unique organisms identified from all patients, and the average number of organisms identified by NGS was 4.6 per patient. Four sterile water controls were all negative for organisms.

Conclusion

A proportion of patients with osteoarthritis undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty have organisms identified in their joint by NGS at the time of surgery. Organisms identified after TKA by NGS when concern for periprosthetic joint infection exists may represent the native microbiome rather than pathogenic microbes.

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