Diagnosis of Infected Total Hip Arthroplasty. HIP International. 2015;25(4):294-300.

Diagnosis of Infected Total Hip Arthroplasty

Enayatollahi MA, Parvizi J.

Despite the battery of available tests, the diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) remains a challenge. A comprehensive medical history and physical examination with appropriate radiographs followed by erythrocyte sedimentation rate and serum C-reactive protein are the first-line screening test for patients with suspected hip PJI. The second line of investigation of patients with abnormal serology or a strong suspicion for PJI, is joint aspiration. Aspirates should be sent for assessment of white blood cell count, polymorphonuclear percentage, leukocyte esterase strip test, and microbiology. If the first attempt fails, the joint should be re-aspirated at a different time. The International Consensus recommends against infiltration of saline or other fluids into a “dry” joint. In patients not planned for surgery but need further evaluation for PJI, a nuclear imaging study may help. In others with a planned revision surgery, intraoperative samples for frozen section and culture study are the best measures available. Treatment strategies for PJI are well established in the literature. Poor surgical candidates receive oral suppressive antibiotic therapy alone. Acute PJI, presenting within 4 weeks of the index surgery, or as a result of bacteraemia, may be treated with irrigation and debridement and implant retention. Chronic PJI, occurring more than 4 weeks after initial surgery, is treated with 1-stage or 2-stage revision arthroplasty. In some persistent infections or patients who refuse to undergo revision surgery, salvage procedures may be needed.

Download article