J Orthop Surg Res 15, 450 (2020).

Is combining serum interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein a reliable diagnostic tool in periprosthetic joint infections?

Li, C., Ojeda Thies, C., Xu, C. et al.
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder Wrist


Because there is no single gold standard method for the diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), the combination of valuable methods to evaluate infection appears to achieve a better diagnostic result. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of serum interleukin (IL)-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP) for the diagnosis of PJI.


PubMed, Embase, and the Web of Science databases were searched for articles describing PJI diagnosis using serum IL-6 and CRP published between January 1990 and December 2019.


Eight studies were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled sensitivity was 0.84 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80−0.88) for the combined method (serum IL-6 and CRP) in series and parallel approaches, 0.87 (95% CI, 0.82−0.90) for IL-6, and 0.84 (95% CI, 0.79−0.88) for CRP. The pooled specificity was 0.85 (95% CI, 0.82−0.88) for the combined method, 0.83 (95% CI, 0.79−0.87) for IL-6, and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.79−0.87) for CRP. The combined method had the highest value for the area under the curve (0.9453), followed by IL-6 (0.9237) and CRP (0.9074). Subgroup analyses showed that the sensitivity of the combined method in parallel tests was higher than that in IL-6 or CRP (94% vs. 89% and 84%, respectively). Serial testing of the combined method showed increased specificity compared to a single indicator (96% vs. 83% and 80%).


The combination of serum IL-6 and CRP was a reliable tool for the diagnosis of periprosthetic hip and knee infection, demonstrating a better diagnostic accuracy than single marker analysis.

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