Risk Factors for Failure and Optimal Treatment of Total Joint Arthroplasty for Septic Arthritis

J Arthroplasty. 2021 Mar;36(3):892-896. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2020.09.020. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


Background: Patients with native joint septic arthritis are one of the highest risk groups for developing complications following total joint arthroplasty (TJA), especially periprosthetic joint infection(PJI). There is a paucity of information on the risk factors for developing PJI and the optimal treatment modality of the native septic joint that can mitigate that risk. This multicenter study aimed to determine these risk factors, including prior treatment.

Methods: A retrospective study of 233 TJAs performed, following prior septic arthritis at five institutions, was conducted. Comorbidities, organism profile, prior surgery, etiology of septic arthritis, and other relevant variables were reviewed. The primary outcome was the development of PJI, defined by Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify risk factors for PJI.

Results: Overall, the PJI rate was 12.4% in patients who underwent TJA after native septic arthritis. Predisposing risk factors for PJI included antibiotic-resistant organisms, male gender, diabetes, and a postsurgical cause of septic arthritis eg open reduction internal fixation. When controlling for potential confounders, multivariate analysis revealed that male gender, diabetes, and a postoperative etiology were predictors of PJI. The definitive treatment modality for the septic joint did not affect the rate of PJI for both arthroscopy vs irrigation and debridement (I&D), and two-stage exchange vs single-stage procedure.

Discussion: This study has identified several risk factors for developing PJI in patients with prior septic joint arthritis, some of which are modifiable. The initial treatment modality of the native septic joint has no bearing on the development of PJI after TJA.

Keywords: complications; periprosthetic joint infection; risk factors; septic arthritis; total joint arthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Infectious* / epidemiology
  • Arthritis, Infectious* / etiology
  • Arthritis, Infectious* / surgery
  • Arthroplasty
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / epidemiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / etiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors