A swollen joint: why all the fuss?

Am J Ther. 2003 May-Jun;10(3):219-24. doi: 10.1097/00045391-200305000-00009.


Acute arthritis may be a potential medical emergency. An infected joint causes rapid cartilaginous destruction and risk of future osteoarthritis. Prompt attention to the historical clues and potential causative organisms ensures appropriate therapy. Numerous microbes have been identified as the causative agent in septic arthritis, and various populations have distinct susceptibilities to these specific organisms. One broad classification of septic arthritis is differentiating gonococcal and nongonococcal organisms. This classification is important, as not only do the organisms differ, but the age of the patient and the portal of entry also differ. Aspiration of synovial fluid is paramount for proper diagnosis and management of septic arthritis. In addition, the timely administration of properly chosen antibiotic agents is essential for reducing morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Infectious / complications
  • Arthritis, Infectious / microbiology*
  • Arthritis, Infectious / therapy*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / therapy
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Inhalation
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • Osteoarthritis / microbiology
  • Synovial Fluid / microbiology
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents