The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 2, 534 - 537

Synovial Fluid Calprotectin for the Preoperative Diagnosis of Chronic Periprosthetic Joint Infection

Salari, Paolo et al.
Hip Knee


The diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) represents a challenge in clinical practice and the analysis of synovial fluid is a useful diagnostic tool. Calprotectin is an inflammatory biomarker widely used in the evaluation of chronic inflammatory diseases; however, little is known about its role in PJI. The purpose of this study is to determine the reliability of synovial calprotectin in the diagnosis of PJI.


Seventy-six patients with painful knee arthroplasty were included in this prospective observational study. Synovial fluid was analyzed for cell count, percentage of polymorphonuclear neutrophils, microbiological culture, leukocyte esterase strip test, alpha-defensin rapid test, and calprotectin immunoassay dosage. The 2018 Consensus Statements criteria for PJI were used as standard reference to define the presence of infection. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratio, and receiver-operation characteristic curve were calculated for calprotectin immunoassay test.


By 2018 Consensus Statements criteria for PJI, 28 patients were considered infected, 44 patients were considered not infected, and 4 patients were classified as inconclusive. The calprotectin synovial fluid test resulted in 2 false-positive results and no false-negative results. The calprotectin synovial fluid test demonstrated a sensitivity of 100% (95% confidence interval [CI] 99.96-100) and specificity of 95% (95% CI 89.4-100) for the diagnosis of PJI. The positive likelihood ratio was 22 (95% CI 5.680-85.209) and the negative likelihood ratio was 0 (95% CI 0-0.292). The area under the receiver-operation characteristic curve was 0.996 (95% CI 94.3-100).


The present study suggests that synovial calprotectin immunoassay test has a high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of knee PJI. Moreover, it is easily applied, quick and valuable in clinical practice.

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