The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 34 , Issue 2 , 359 - 364

Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay Using the Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Technique in the Detection of Prosthetic Joint Infections: A Multi-Centered Study

Moshirabadi, Ataollah et al.
Hip Knee


PCR-RFLP (polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism) techniques have been used for the diagnosis of bacteria in some infections. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of PCR for the diagnosis of prosthetic joint infections (PJI) and to identify isolated microorganisms, using the RFLP method.


During January 2015 to January 2018, patients who were suspected of having PJI after arthroplasty surgery or were candidates for revision surgery due to loosening of implant entered the study. Patients who had 1 major criterion or 3 minor criteria for PJI based on the Philadelphia Consensus Criteria (PCC) on Periprosthetic Joint Infection were considered as cases of PJI. Both culture results and PCR findings, were cross compared with results of the PCC (as the gold standard criteria).


Overall, 76 samples were included in the study. Mean (standard deviation) age of patients was 66.72 ± 11.82 years. Overall, 57.9% of patients were females. Prevalence of PJI was 50% based on the PCC. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and general efficacy of PCR for detection of PJI was 97.4%, 100%, 100%, 97.4%, and 98.7%, respectively. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and general efficacy of culture was 31.6%, 100%, 65.7%, 100%, and 59.4%, respectively.

We isolated a broad range of bacteria using PCR-RFLP including Gram-positive cocci such as Staphylococcussp., Streptococcus sp., and Enterococcus sp., and Gram-negative bacilli such as Enterobacteriaceae sp., Pseudomonas sp. Citrobacter sp., as well as Chlamydophila pneumoniaStenotrophomonas maltophiliaBrucella melitensis, non-gonococcal NeisseriaKingella kingaeBacteroides ovatus, and Proteus mirabilis from PJI patients.


Inhere, for the first time, we showed that PCR-RFLP is a powerful tool for identifying the type of bacteria involved in PJI, and can be used for follow-up of patients suspected of PJI and those with a history of antibiotic use. PCR-RFLP may be able to substantially decrease detection time of PJI among PCR-based methods, while allowing more accurate identification of the bacteria involved.

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