The effectiveness of laboratory tests to predict early postoperative periprosthetic infection after total knee arthroplasty

Mason E. Uvodich, Evan M. Dugdale, Douglas R. Osmon, Mark Pagnano, Daniel J. Berry, Matthew P. Abdel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

AIMS: It remains difficult to diagnose early postoperative periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). We aimed to validate the optimal cutoff values of ESR, CRP, and synovial fluid analysis for detecting early postoperative PJI in a large series of primary TKAs. METHODS: We retrospectively identified 27,066 primary TKAs performed between 2000 and 2019. Within 12 weeks, 169 patients (170 TKAs) had an aspiration. The patients were divided into two groups: those evaluated ≤ six weeks, or between six and 12 weeks postoperatively. The 2011 Musculoskeletal Infection Society (MSIS) criteria for PJI diagnosis in 22 TKAs. The mean follow-up was five years (two months to 17 years). The results were compared using medians and Mann-Whitney U tests and thresholds were analyzed using receiver operator characteristic curves. RESULTS: Within six weeks, the median CRP (101 mg/l vs 35 mg/l; p = 0.011), synovial WBCs (58,295 cells/μl vs 2,121 cells/μl; p ≤ 0.001), percentage of synovial neutrophils (91% vs 71% (p < 0.001), and absolute synovial neutrophil count (ANC) (50,748 cells/μl vs 1,386 cells/μl (p < 0.001) were significantly higher in infected TKAs. Between six and 12 weeks, the median CRP (85 mg/l vs 5 mg/l (p < 0.001)), ESR (33 mm/hr vs 14 mm/hr (p = 0.015)), synovial WBCs (62,247 cells/μl vs 620 cells/μl (p < 0.001)), percentage of synovial neutrophils (93% vs 54% (p < 0.001)), and ANC (55,911 cells/μl vs 326 cells/μl (p < 0.001)) were also significantly higher in infected TKAs. Optimal thresholds at ≤ six weeks were: CRP ≥ 82 mg/l (sensitivity 70%, specificity 77%), synovial WBCs ≥ 8,676 cells/μl (83%, 90%), percentage of synovial neutrophils ≥ 88% (67%, 78%), and ANC ≥ 8,346 cells/μl (83%, 91%). Between six and 12 weeks, thresholds were: CRP ≥ 34 mg/l (90%, 93%), synovial WBCs ≥ 1,983 cells/μl (80%, 85%), percentage of synovial neutrophils ≥ 76% (80%, 81%), and ANC ≥ 1,684 cells/μl (80%, 87%). CONCLUSION: Early PJI after TKA should be suspected within six weeks if the CRP is ≥ 82 mg/l, synovial WBCs are ≥ 8,676 cells/μl, the percentage of synovial neutrophils is ≥ 88%, and/or the ANC is ≥ 8,346 cells/μl. Between six and 12 weeks, thresholds include a CRP of ≥ 34 mg/l, synovial WBC of ≥ 1,983 cells/μl, a percentage of synovial neutrophils of ≥ 76%, and/or an ANC of ≥ 1,684 cells/μl. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(6 Supple A):177-184.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
JournalThe bone & joint journal
Volume103-B
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

Keywords

  • Arthrocentesis
  • Aspiration
  • CRP
  • ESR
  • Synovial white blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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