The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , S201 - S204

What Is the Optimal Criteria to Use for Detecting Periprosthetic Joint Infections Before Total Joint Arthroplasty?

Kanwar, Sumit et al.
Hip Knee


The purposes of this study were to (1) test the accuracy of α-defensin and combined α-defensin-aspiration cultures in diagnosing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) before revision total knee and hip arthroplasty and (2) evaluate Musculoskeletal Infection Society (MSIS) criteria and α-defensin as predictors of successful reimplantation (second-stage) at 1 year after surgery.


We retrospectively evaluated a total of 97 synovial fluid aspirations performed between August 2014 and September 2016 before revision due to septic or aseptic failures (n = 70) or before second-stage (n = 27) joint arthroplasty. Revisions were categorized as either septic or aseptic according to the MSIS criteria. Synovial fluid was tested for α-defensin, cell count with differential, and cultures. Reimplantations were assessed for success or failure (defined as the need for reoperation due to infection) within 1 year after surgery.


For septic and aseptic revision arthroplasty, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predicted value of α-defensin was 97% while for the combined α-defensin and aspiration culture, it was 96%, 100%, 100%, and 97%. Despite being performed with negative MSIS criteria and α-defensin test results, 11% (3/27) of reimplantations (second-stage) failed within 1 year postoperatively because of infection.


Alpha-defensin is an accurate diagnostic test for the diagnosis of PJI before revision arthroplasty. The combination of α-defensin and aspiration cultures has higher specificity and positive predictive value. MSIS criteria and α-defensin may help predict the success of reimplantations within 1 year after surgery.

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