The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 8 , 2582 - 2587

Predicting Failure in Early Acute Prosthetic Joint Infection Treated With Debridement, Antibiotics, and Implant Retention: External Validation of the KLIC Score

Löwik, Claudia A.M. et al.
Hip Knee


Debridement, antibiotics, and implant retention (DAIR) is a widely used treatment modality for early acute prosthetic joint infection (PJI). A preoperative risk score was previously designed for predicting DAIR failure, consisting of chronic renal failure (K), liver cirrhosis (L), index surgery (I), cemented prosthesis (C), and C-reactive protein >115 mg/L (KLIC). The aim of this study was to validate the KLIC score in an external cohort.


We retrospectively evaluated patients with early acute PJI treated with DAIR between 2006 and 2016 in 3 Dutch hospitals. Early acute PJI was defined as <21 days of symptoms and DAIR performed within 90 days after index surgery. Failure was defined as the need for (1) second DAIR, (2) implant removal, (3) suppressive antimicrobial treatment, or (4) infection-related death within 60 days after debridement.


A total of 386 patients were included. Failure occurred in 148 patients (38.3%). Patients with KLIC scores of ≤2, 2.5-3.5, 4-5, 5.5-6.5, and ≥7 had failure rates of 27.9%, 37.1%, 49.3%, 54.5%, and 85.7%, respectively (P < .001). The receiver-operating characteristic curve showed an area under the curve of 0.64 (95% confidence interval 0.59-0.69). A KLIC score higher than 6 points showed a specificity of 97.9%.


The KLIC score is a relatively good preoperative risk score for DAIR failure in patients with early acute PJI and appears to be most useful in clinical practice for patients with low or high KLIC scores.

Download article