The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 10, 2454 - 2460

Plasma Fibrin Degradation Product and D-Dimer Are of Limited Value for Diagnosing Periprosthetic Joint Infection

Xu, Hong et al.
Hip Knee


Although the Musculoskeletal Infection Society introduced the use of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) as inflammatory markers for diagnosing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), no single blood marker reliably detects infection before revision arthroplasty. We therefore posed 2 questions: (1) Are fibrin degradation product (FDP) and D-dimer of value for diagnosing PJI before revision arthroplasty? (2) What are their sensitivity and specificity for that purpose?


To answer these questions, we retrospectively enrolled 318 patients (129 with PJI [group A], 189 with aseptic mechanical failure [group B]) who underwent revision arthroplasty during 2013-2018. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to determine maximum sensitivity and specificity of the 2 markers. Inflammatory and fibrinolytic markers were evaluated based on (1) the Tsukayama-type infection present and (2) the 3 most common PJI-related pathogens.


FDP and D-dimer levels were higher in group A than in group B: 4.97 ± 2.83 vs 4.14 ± 2.67 mg/L and 2.14 ± 2.01 vs 1.51 ± 1.37 mg/L fibrinogen equivalent units (FEU), respectively (both P < .05). Based on the Youden index, 2.95 mg/L and 1.02 mg/L FEU are the optimal FDP and D-dimer predictive cutoffs, respectively, for diagnosing PJI. Sensitivity and specificity, respectively, were 65.12% and 60.33% (FDP) and 68.29% and 50.70% (D-dimer). ESR, CRP, and interleukin-6 values were diagnostically superior to those of FDP and D-dimer.


The value of plasma FDP and D-dimer for diagnosing PJI is limited compared with traditional inflammatory markers (ESR, CRP, interleukin-6) before revision arthroplasty.

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