Factors affecting outcome in the treatment of streptococcal periprosthetic joint infections: results from a single-centre retrospective cohort study

Int Orthop. 2021 Jan;45(1):57-63. doi: 10.1007/s00264-020-04722-7. Epub 2020 Aug 27.


Purpose: To report and analyse factors affecting the outcome of streptococcal periprosthetic joint infections (PJIs).

Methods: A retrospective analysis of consecutive streptococcal PJIs was performed. Musculoskeletal Infection Society 2013 criteria were used. Outcome was compared with a prospective PJI cohort from the same institution.

Results: The most common isolated streptococcal species was Streptococcus dysgalactiae (9/22, 41%) among 22 patients included. Surgical treatment consisted of DAIR (debridement, antibiotics, irrigation and retention) in 12 (55%), one-stage revision arthroplasty in one (4%), two-stage revision arthroplasty in eight (37%) and implant removal in one (4%) patient. An infection free-outcome was achieved in 15 cases (68%), whilst seven (32%) patients failed initial revision and relapsed with the same pathogen, from which six were treated with DAIR and one with one-stage revision arthroplasty. No failures were observed in patients who received a two-stage revision. Failure rates did not differ in the cases treated with rifampin (1/5) from those without 6/17 (p = 0.55). There was no correlation between the length of antibiotic treatment and relapse (p = 0.723). In all failures, a persistent distant infection focus was identified at the time of relapse. Compared with our prospective PJI cohort, relapse rates were significantly higher 32% vs 12% (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: No correlation with the use of rifampin or length of antibiotic treatment was found. No failures were observed in patients who received a two-stage revision, which may be the surgical treatment of choice. A distant persisting infection focus could be the reason for PJI relapse with recurrent hematogenous seeding in the joint.

Keywords: Biofilm; PJI; Periprosthetic joint infection; Rifampin; Streptococcus infection.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Debridement
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / drug therapy
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / epidemiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Streptococcus
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents

Supplementary concepts

  • Streptococcus dysgalactiae