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Int J Artif Organs. 2012 Oct;35(10):923-34. doi: 10.5301/ijao.5000168.

Epidemiology and new developments in the diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection.

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Service de Bactériologie-Hygiène, CHU de Nantes, Nantes, France.


Although prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a rare event after arthroplasty, it represents a significant complication that is associated with high morbidity, need for complex treatment, and substantial healthcare costs. An accurate and rapid diagnosis of PJI is crucial for treatment success. Current diagnostic methods in PJI are insufficient with 10-30% false-negative cultures. Consequently, there is a need for research and development into new methods aimed at improving diagnostic accuracy and speed of detection. In this article, we review available conventional diagnostic methods for the diagnosis of PJI (laboratory markers, histopathology, synovial fluid and periprosthetic tissue cultures), new diagnostic methods (sonication of implants, specific and multiplex PCR, mass spectrometry) and innovative techniques under development (new laboratory markers, microcalorimetry, electrical method, reverse transcription [RT]-PCR, fluorescence in situ hybridization [FISH], biofilm microscopy, microarray identification, and serological tests). The results of highly sensitive diagnostic techniques with unknown specificity should be interpreted with caution. The organism identified by a new method may represent a real pathogen that was unrecognized by conventional diagnostic methods or contamination during specimen sampling, transportation, or processing. For accurate interpretation, additional studies are needed, which would evaluate the long-term outcome (usually >2 years) with or without antimicrobial treatment. It is expected that new rapid, accurate, and fully automatic diagnostic tests will be developed soon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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