The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 31, Issue 9, 148 - 151

Recurrent Periprosthetic Joint Infection After Irrigation and Debridement With Component Retention Is Most Often Due to Identical Organisms

Zmistowski, Benjamin M. et al.
Hip Knee


Irrigation and debridement with prosthetic retention (I&D) is an oft-utilized treatment option for PJI, despite its known limited success. While it is known that nearly half of all patients treated with I&D have recurrent infection, the organism persistence between infection events remains unreported. In addition, identifying those cases in which I&D routinely failed to eradicate the infection (not simply prevent recurrent infection) may allow improved patient selection for this less morbid procedure—a difficult task to date.


Using an institutional database, 146 patients (153 joints) undergoing I&D between April 2000 and July 2013 were identified. There were 60 hips (40%). The overall success rate of I&D in this group was 52% (80/153). The failure group was limited to those patients with growth on culture at both initial failure and recurrent failure (46 cases). Analyses were performed to identify potential predictors of failed I&D and organism persistence in those cases.


In the study group, 83.7% (36/43) of cases failed with the same organism. Knees with failed I&D had an organism persistence of 92.3% (24/26) compared with 70.5% (12/17; P = .09) for the hip. Patients initially infected with Staphylococcus aureus (specifically methicillin-resistant [13/13]) had a higher risk of persistent PJI (96%; 24/25) compared to other organisms (66.7%; 12/18; P = .01).


I&D had a success rate of approximately 50% and typically failed due to organism persistence rather than a new infection. Given that persistent infection was most common in knees and S aureus, I&D should have a limited role in treating PJI, especially in these cases.

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