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Clinical features and outcome of septic arthritis in a single UK Health District 1982-1991.

Abstract

AIMS
To determine the clinical features of a large number of unselected UK hospital patients with confirmed septic arthritis and to determine those features associated with a poor outcome.
STUDY DESIGN
Retrospective, case-note survey.
SETTING
A single English Health District.
PATIENTS
All patients admitted to hospital in Nottingham during the period 1 January 1982 to 31 December 1991 with confirmed septic arthritis were included.
OUTCOME MEASURES
Death, osteomyelitis and recorded functional impairment.
RESULTS
The spectrum of causative organisms remains similar to that seen in previous studies with the Gram positive organisms Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococci responsible for 74% of cases, gonococcal infections though were less common. Culture of joint aspirates and or blood were positive in 82% of cases, with the Gram stain demonstrating the causative organism in 50% of cases. Pre-existing joint disease was evident in 35% of cases. The mortality remains high at 11.5% with a significant additional morbidity of 31.6%. Multivariate analysis suggests that important predictors of death are: confusion at presentation, age > or = 65 years, multiple joint sepsis or involvement of the elbow joint, and of morbidity are: age > or = 65 years, diabetes mellitus, open surgical drainage, and Gram positive infections other than S aureus.
CONCLUSIONS
Septic arthritis continues to be associated with a considerable degree of morbidity and mortality. These results confirm the importance of obtaining synovial fluid and blood for culture before starting antimicrobial treatment. The apparent poorer outcome found with surgical intervention is in line with some previous suggestions but should be interpreted with caution in light of the retrospective nature of this study.

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  • Authors

    Weston VC, Jones AC, Bradbury N, Fawthrop F, Doherty M

    Institution

    Rheumatology Unit, City Hospital, Nottingham.

    Source

    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 58:4 1999 Apr pg 214-9

    MeSH

    Adolescent
    Adult
    Aged
    Anti-Bacterial Agents
    Arthritis, Infectious
    Child
    Child, Preschool
    Female
    Hospitals, Teaching
    Humans
    Male
    Middle Aged
    Morbidity
    Prognosis
    Regression Analysis
    Retrospective Studies
    Staphylococcal Infections
    Streptococcal Infections
    Synovial Fluid
    Treatment Outcome

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    10364899