Bone Joint Res 2020;9(8):450–456.

The value of calprotectin in synovial fluid for the diagnosis of chronic prosthetic joint infection

Zeyu Zhang, Yuanqing Cai, Guochang Bai, Chaofan Zhang, Wenbo Li, Bin Yang, Wenming Zhang
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder Wrist


This study aimed to evaluate calprotectin in synovial fluid for diagnosing chronic prosthetic joint infection (PJI) .


A total of 63 patients who were suspected of PJI were enrolled. The synovial fluid calprotectin was tested by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Laboratory test data, such as ESR, CRP, synovial fluid white blood cells (SF-WBCs), and synovial fluid polymorphonuclear cells (SF-PMNs), were documented. Chi-squared tests were used to compare the sensitivity and specificity of calprotectin and laboratory tests. The area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was calculated to determine diagnostic efficacy.


The median calprotectin level was 776 μg/ml (interquartile range (IQR) 536.5 to 1132) in the PJI group and 54.5 μg/ml (IQR, 38.75 to 78.25) in the aseptic failure (AF) group (p < 0.05). Using a threshold of 173 ug/ml, the sensitivity was 95.2%, with a 97.6% specificity, and the AUC was 0.993. The sensitivity of calprotectin of the antibiotic-treated PJI group was 100% versus 90.9% of the non-antibiotic-treated PJI group. Although 47.6% (ten cases) of the patients in the PJI group received antibiotics before aspiration, the diagnostic efficacy of calprotectin was not affected. The sensitivity and specificity of ESR, CRP, SF-WBCs, and SF-PMNs ranged from 76.2% to 90.5% and 64.3% to 85.7%, respectively.


Calprotectin in synovial fluid has great diagnostic efficacy for PJI diagnosisand outperformed ESR, CRP, SF-WBCs, and SF-PMNs.

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