Arthroplasty patients with prior septic arthritis are at high risk of developing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). The aims of this study are to investigate the outcome and predictors of septic failure following TJA for prior septic arthritis. In addition, the optimal timing of TJA is also discussed.
A retrospective review of 105 TJA patients with prior septic arthritis between January 2000 and December 2019 was performed. Patient-specific and surgery-related factors, organism profiles, and other relevant variables were recorded.
At a mean follow-up of 10.3 years, the PJI rate was 16.2%. The adjusted Cox proportional hazards model showed that male gender (HR, 9.95; P < 0.01), end-stage renal disease (HR, 37.34; P < 0.01), debridement surgery ≥ 3 times (HR,4.75; P= 0.04) and polymicrobial infection in primary septic arthritis (HR, 10.02; P= 0.02) were independent risk factors for PJI. Neither the types of initial debridement nor the one-stage vs two-stage arthroplasty was related to the risk of PJI. While delaying the timing of TJA did not correlate with a reduction of PJI rate, there was a higher risk of PJI re-infection by the same microorganisms isolated in prior septic arthritis if TJA was performed within 6 months after septic arthritis.
Our study demonstrated that male gender, ESRD, multiple debridement surgeries and polymicrobial septic arthritis predisposed septic failure of TJA following prior septic arthritis. Surgeons should counsel patients with the potential complications, and be cognizant about the risk factors pertaining to septic failure when considering TJA.

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