Background and purpose: Fungal prosthetic joint infections are rare and difficult to treat. This systematic review was conducted to determine outcome and to give treatment recommendations.
Patients and methods: After an extensive search of the literature, 164 patients treated for fungal hip or knee prosthetic joint infection (PJI) were reviewed. This included 8 patients from our own institutions.
Results: Most patients presented with pain (78%) and swelling (65%). In 68% of the patients, 1 or more risk factors for fungal PJI were found. In 51% of the patients, radiographs showed signs of loosening of the arthroplasty. Candida species were cultured from most patients (88%). In 21% of all patients, fungal culture results were first considered to be contamination. There was co-infection with bacteria in 33% of the patients. For outcome analysis, 119 patients had an adequate follow-up of at least 2 years. Staged revision was the treatment performed most often, with the highest success rate (85%).
Interpretation: Fungal PJI resembles chronic bacterial PJI. For diagnosis, multiple samples and prolonged culturing are essential. Fungal species should be considered to be pathogens. Co-infection with bacteria should be treated with additional antibacterial agents. We found no evidence that 1-stage revision, debridement, antibiotics, irrigation, and retention (DAIR) or antifungal therapy without surgical treatment adequately controls fungal PJI. Thus, staged revision should be the standard treatment for fungal PJI. After resection of the prosthesis, we recommend systemic antifungal treatment for at least 6 weeks-and until there are no clinical signs of infection and blood infection markers have normalized. Then reimplantation can be performed.