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The potential use of microcalorimetry in rapid differentiation between septic arthritis and other causes of arthritis.
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Publication types: Journal Article Publication Status: ppublish
Current diagnostic methods in differentiating septic from non-septic arthritis are time-consuming (culture) or have limited sensitivity (Gram stain). Microcalorimetry is a novel method that can rapidly detect microorganisms by their heat production. We investigated the accuracy and time to detection of septic arthritis by using microcalorimetry. Patients older than 18 years of age with acute arthritis of native joints were prospectively included. Synovial fluid was aspirated and investigated by Gram stain, culture and microcalorimetry. The diagnosis of septic arthritis and non-septic arthritis were made by experienced rheumatologists or orthopaedic surgeons. Septic arthritis was diagnosed by considering the finding of acute arthritis together with findings such as positive Gram stain or positive culture of synovial fluid or positive blood culture. The sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing septic arthritis and the time to positivity of microcalorimetry were determined. Of 90 patients (mean age 64 years), nine had septic arthritis, of whom four (44 %) had positive Gram stain, six (67 %) positive synovial fluid culture and four (44 %) had positive blood culture. The sensitivity of microcalorimetry was 89 %, the specificity was 99 % and the mean detection time was 5.0 h (range, 2.2-8.0 h). Microcalorimetry is an accurate and rapid method for the diagnosis of septic arthritis. It has potential to be used in clinical practice in diagnosing septic arthritis.
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