The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 8, 1767 - 1771

Diagnostic Accuracy of the Alpha-Defensin Test for Periprosthetic Joint Infection in Patients With Inflammatory Diseases

Miyamae, Yushi et al.
Hip Knee


The alpha-defensin test has been reported to have high accuracy to diagnose periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). There are remaining concerns about the utility of the test in patients with inflammatory diseases. The purpose of this study is to determine sensitivity and specificity of laboratory-based alpha-defensin in diagnosing PJI in patients with systemic inflammatory disease in revision total hip/knee arthroplasty.


A retrospective review was conducted of 1374 cases who underwent revision total hip/knee arthroplasty at a single healthcare system from 2014 to 2017. Cases with inflammatory diseases who received a 1-stage revision arthroplasty, the first stage of 2-stage revision arthroplasty, or irrigation and debridement with available preoperative alpha-defensin results were included. Patients who received a second-stage procedure, spacer exchange, who had insufficient Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria, or with early postoperative PJI were excluded from this study. Cases were classified as infected or not according to Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria. A total of 41 cases met the inclusion criteria. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy of alpha-defensin to diagnose PJI were calculated.


The alpha-defensin test demonstrated a sensitivity of 93%, a specificity of 100%, a positive predictive value of 100%, a negative predictive value of 96%, and an accuracy of 97% for diagnosing PJI. There was 1 patient with polymyositis who had a false-negative result.


Alpha-defensin had high accuracy for diagnosing PJI even in inflammatory diseases. The alpha-defensin test provides useful information with high accuracy in diagnosing PJI in patients with inflammatory diseases.

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