Septic arthritis is a rheumatologic emergency that may lead to disability or death. Prompt evacuation of the joint, either by arthrocentesis at the bedside, open or arthroscopic drainage in the operating room, or imaging-guided drainage in the radiology suite, is mandatory. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become a major cause of septic arthritis in the United States. MRSA joint infection seems to be associated with worse outcomes. Antibiotic courses of 3 to 4 weeks in duration are usually adequate for uncomplicated bacterial arthritis. Treatment duration should be extended to 6 weeks if there is imaging evidence of accompanying osteomyelitis.
Keywords: Arthrocentesis; MRSA; Septic arthritis; Synovial fluid.
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