Bone Joint J 2019;101-B(7 Supple C):91–97

Prior hip or knee prosthetic joint infection in another joint increases risk three-fold of prosthetic joint infection after primary total knee arthroplasty

B. P. Chalmers, J. T. Weston, D. R. Osmon, A. D. Hanssen, D. J. Berry, M. P. Abdel


There is little information regarding the risk of a patient developing prosthetic joint infection (PJI) after primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) when the patient has previously experienced PJI of a TKA or total hip arthroplasty (THA) in another joint. The goal of this study was to compare the risk of PJI of primary TKA in this patient population against matched controls.

Patients and Methods

We retrospectively reviewed 95 patients (102 primary TKAs) treated between 2000 and 2014 with a history of PJI in another TKA or THA. A total of 50 patients (53%) were female. Mean age was 69 years (45 to 88) with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 36 kg/m2 (22 to 59). In total, 27% of patients were on chronic antibiotic suppression. Mean follow-up was six years (2 to 16). We 1:3 matched these (for age, sex, BMI, and surgical year) to 306 primary TKAs performed in 306 patients with a THA or TKA of another joint without a subsequent PJI. Competing risk with death was used for statistical analysis. Multivariate analysis was followed to evaluate risk factors for PJI in the study cohort.


The cumulative incidence of PJI in the study cohort (6.1%) was significantly higher than the matched cohort (2.6%) at ten years (hazard ratio (HR) 3.3; 95% confidence interval 1.18 to 8.97; p = 0.02). Host grade in the study group was not a significant risk factor for PJI. Patients on chronic suppression had a higher rate of PJI (HR 15; p = 0.002), with six of the seven patients developing PJI in the study group being on chronic suppression. The new infecting microorganism was the same as the previous in only two of seven patients.


In this matched cohort study, patients undergoing a clean primary TKA with a history of TKA or THA PJI in another joint had a three-fold higher risk of PJI compared with matched controls with ten-year cumulative incidence of 6.1%. The risk of PJI was 15-fold higher in patients on chronic antibiotic suppression; further investigation into reasons for this and mitigation strategies are recommended.

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