Background: Patients with a painful or failed total joint arthroplasties should be evaluated for periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). The purpose of this study is to determine if patients referred to a tertiary care center had been evaluated for PJI according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) clinical practice guidelines. Methods: One hundred thirteen patients with painful hip (43) or knee (70) arthroplasties were referred to a single provider by orthopaedic surgeons outside our practice between 2012 and 2014. We retrospectively evaluated the workup by referring physicians, including measurement of serum erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein, performance of a joint aspiration if these values were abnormal, and obtainment of synovial fluid white blood cell count, differential, and cultures. Results: Sixty-two of 113 patients (55%) did not have a workup that followed AAOS guidelines. Serum erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein were ordered for 64 of the 113 patients (57%). Of 25 patients with elevated inflammatory markers warranting aspiration, 15 (60%) had an aspiration attempted, with synovial fluid white blood cell, differential, and cultures obtained in 9 of 12 (75%) aspirations that yielded fluid. Of the 62 patients with an incomplete infection workup, 11 (18%) had a bone scan, 6 (10%) a computed tomography scan, and 3 (5%) a magnetic resonance imaging. Twelve of the 113 patients (11%) were ultimately diagnosed with PJI, with 5 undiagnosed prior to referral. Conclusions: The AAOS guidelines to evaluate for PJI are frequently not being followed. Improving awareness of these guidelines may avoid unnecessary and costly evaluations and delay in the diagnosis of PJI.
- Arthroplasty infection
- Clinical practice guidelines
- Infection workup
- Periprosthetic joint infection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine