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J Hyg (Lond). 1985 Dec;95(3):655-64.

Extended follow-up of patients suspected of having joint sepsis after total joint replacement.


During an average follow-up time of about 2 1/2 years after total hip or knee-joint replacement in 8052 patients, suspected joint infection was recorded in 85 patients whose joints had not been re-operated during that period. The hospital records of 72 of these patients were examined after a further period, averaging about 5 years. Thirty-five of these had suffered continuing major problems with the joint, 18 of which had been revised, and a further 9 joints needed such treatment. Infection was confirmed in 17 of the 35. These numbers are proportionately about three times greater than those observed among a set of matched controls followed-up for a similar period. The evidence from the extended follow-up suggests that the failure rate, unassociated with infection, reached about 5% by 7 years after operation and that late infections, manifested between about 2 1/2 and 7 years after operation, were about as frequent as those confirmed during the first 2 1/2 years.

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