Poor outcome after debridement and implant retention for acute hematogenous periprosthetic joint infection: a cohort study of 43 patients


  • Marianne Westberg Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, Oslo, Norway
  • Øystein Tyri Fagerberg Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, Oslo, Norway
  • Finnur Snorrason Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, Oslo, Norway




Arthroplasty, Debridement, Hematogenous infection, Treatment


Background and purpose: The management of acute hematogenous periprosthetic joint infection (AHI) is challenging and the optimal treatment is not clearly defined. The aim of this study was to evaluate the treatment outcome of AHI, and secondarily to investigate potential risk factors that affect outcome.
Patients and methods: We retrospectively analyzed 43 consecutive AHIs in a total hip or knee arthroplasty between 2013 and 2020 at a single center. We used the Delphi international consensus criteria to define infection. Patients were treated by either debridement, antibiotics, and implant retention (DAIR) (n = 25), implant exchange/removal (n = 15), or suppressive antibiotics only (n = 3). AHI was defined as abrupt symptoms of infection ≥ 3 months after implantation in an otherwise well-functioning arthroplasty.
Results: AHI was most often caused by Staphylococcus aureus (16/43) and streptococcal species (13/43), but a broad spectrum of microbes were identified. 25 of 43 were treated with DAIR, with success in 10 of 25, which was significantly lower than in patients treated with removal of the implant with success in 14 of 15. S. aureus infection, knee arthroplasty, and implant age < 2 years were associated with treatment failure. The 2-year mortality rate was 8 of 43.
Conclusion: The outcome following DAIR in AHIs was poor. The majority of infections were caused by virulent microbes, and we found a high mortality rate. Removal of the implant should more often be considered.


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How to Cite

Westberg, M., Fagerberg, Øystein T., & Snorrason, F. (2023). Poor outcome after debridement and implant retention for acute hematogenous periprosthetic joint infection: a cohort study of 43 patients. Acta Orthopaedica, 94, 115–120. https://doi.org/10.2340/17453674.2023.10312





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