Author(s): AlNammari SS, Gulati V, Patel R, Bejjanki N, Wright M
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Abstract PURPOSE: To determine relevant demographics, clinical features, and outcomes for septic arthritis in patients on haemodialysis for end-stage renal failure. METHODS: A multi-centre retrospective review was performed from 1999 to 2005. RESULTS: 15 cases were identified. The mean age of the patients at diagnosis was 67 (range, 23-89) years and 11 were male. All had multiple co-morbidities and additional risk factors for sepsis. The primary sources of sepsis were dialysis access-related (n=12), unknown in 2, and unrelated soft tissue infection in one. All patients presented with acute monoarticular symptoms; the knee joint was affected in 11 patients. The white cell count, neutrophil count, and C-reactive protein concentration were elevated in 10, 10, and 15 patients, respectively. All patients had positive synovial fluid cultures and blood cultures were positive in 14. Organisms isolated were all skin commensals, being staphylococcal in 13 and streptococcal in 2. Six patients had concomitant rheumatological disease (gout in 4, pseudogout in one, and rheumatoid arthritis in one). Two had urate crystals in the synovial fluid (noted by microscopy). All patients underwent antimicrobial therapy for a mean of 36 days, together with joint washouts and debridement. 12 patients were cured of infection; 2 developed chronic sepsis secondary to localised osteomyelitis; and one died of sepsis. CONCLUSION: Septic arthritis is a potentially devastating condition. Early and aggressive joint lavage and debridement combined with appropriate antimicrobial therapy is imperative. A high index of suspicion is necessary in haemodialysis patients; the diagnosis of septic arthritis must be presumed until proven otherwise.
This article was published in J Orthop Surg (Hong Kong)
and referenced in Journal of Arthritis