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The accuracy of joint aspiration for the diagnosis of shoulder infections


Hecker, Andreas; Jungwirth-Weinberger, Anna; Bauer, Michael Robert; Tondelli, Timo; Uçkay, Ilker; Wieser, Karl (2020). The accuracy of joint aspiration for the diagnosis of shoulder infections. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 29(3):516-520.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Shoulder joint aspirations are frequently performed to rule out infection. In case of unsuccessful aspiration, physicians often augment the aspiration liquid by injecting saline solution.

METHODS

We performed shoulder joint aspirations by fluoroscopic assistance and analyzed the value of an additional saline solution irrigation in patients undergoing revision shoulder surgery. Native joints and post-fracture repair, post-arthroscopy, and post-arthroplasty shoulders were included. A minimum of 3 deep intraoperative tissue samples served as the microbiological gold standard.

RESULTS

We performed 106 aspirations occurring between 0 and 179 days before revision surgery. Among them, we could sample intra-articular liquid directly in 60 cases and after saline solution injection in 43 cases, whereas 3 cases remained unsuccessful. According to intraoperative samples, 24 shoulders were infected but only 10 of 24 (42%) yielded pathogens in the aspirate. Moreover, of the 43 saline solution-enforced irrigations, none revealed bacteria but 8 (17%) confirmed infection in intraoperative samples. Overall, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of presurgical aspirations were 33%, 98%, 80%, and 83%, respectively.

CONCLUSION

When surgical revision is planned, presurgical shoulder joint aspiration is not reliable to sufficiently exclude shoulder joint infection. Nevertheless, a positive aspiration finding can guide clinical decision making, so we propose to perform aspiration only if there is a clinically high index of suspicion for an infection. Irrigation after unsuccessful primary aspiration is futile.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Shoulder joint aspirations are frequently performed to rule out infection. In case of unsuccessful aspiration, physicians often augment the aspiration liquid by injecting saline solution.

METHODS

We performed shoulder joint aspirations by fluoroscopic assistance and analyzed the value of an additional saline solution irrigation in patients undergoing revision shoulder surgery. Native joints and post-fracture repair, post-arthroscopy, and post-arthroplasty shoulders were included. A minimum of 3 deep intraoperative tissue samples served as the microbiological gold standard.

RESULTS

We performed 106 aspirations occurring between 0 and 179 days before revision surgery. Among them, we could sample intra-articular liquid directly in 60 cases and after saline solution injection in 43 cases, whereas 3 cases remained unsuccessful. According to intraoperative samples, 24 shoulders were infected but only 10 of 24 (42%) yielded pathogens in the aspirate. Moreover, of the 43 saline solution-enforced irrigations, none revealed bacteria but 8 (17%) confirmed infection in intraoperative samples. Overall, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of presurgical aspirations were 33%, 98%, 80%, and 83%, respectively.

CONCLUSION

When surgical revision is planned, presurgical shoulder joint aspiration is not reliable to sufficiently exclude shoulder joint infection. Nevertheless, a positive aspiration finding can guide clinical decision making, so we propose to perform aspiration only if there is a clinically high index of suspicion for an infection. Irrigation after unsuccessful primary aspiration is futile.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Surgery
Health Sciences > Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 March 2020
Deposited On:12 Feb 2020 11:50
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 11:57
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1058-2746
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2019.07.016
PubMed ID:31563506

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