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Outcome of arthroscopic drainage and debridement with continuous suction irrigation technique in acute septic arthritis

Ajay Shukla, Sandeep K Beniwal, Skand Sinha
Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma 2014, 5 (1): 1-5

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical course and functional outcome of acute septic arthritis treated by arthroscopic drainage and debridement with continuous suction irrigation.

METHODS: Eighteen subsequent cases of acute septic arthritis of hip and knee were included in this study. Complete hemogram, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), blood sugar, liver and kidney function test was done. Plain radiographs and ultrasound of affected joints were done. Joint aspirate was analyzed for gram staining, AFB staining, culture/sensitivity, biochemistry and cytology. Quantitative CRP was repeated every third day till normal CRP level was noted. Intravenous cloxacillin 25-50 mg/kg was started according to WHO protocol and was later changed to specific antibiotics after culture reports. Arthroscopic drainage and debridement of joints was done through standard portals and two tubes were placed in each joint for continuous suction and irrigation. Continuous suction irrigation was used till the effluent saline from the joint was clear. Functional outcome was documented as per Harris hip score for hips and Lysholm score for knee joint. Scoring was done before surgery, at one month and at three months. The duration of intravenous antibiotics and hospitalization was recorded.

RESULTS: Out of eighteen cases 83.33% were males and 14.67% females. The mean age was 22 years (±12.01). The mean duration of symptoms was 4.33 days (±1.41). According to Gachter classification 88.88% of cases were stage 2 infection and 11.12% cases in stage 1 at the time of arthroscopy. The mean duration of hospital stay was 14.61 days (±4.01). Intravenous antibiotics were given for a mean period of 9.33 days (±2.16). The mean pre-operative Harris score was 13.6 (±2.07) which improved to 98 (±1.87) at 3 months and all the cases had painless normal range of movements. Mean pre-operative Lysholm score was 38.38 (±4.29) and it improved to 98.84 (±2.19) at 3 months. There were no sequelae of septic arthritis in any case.

CONCLUSION: Early arthroscopic decompression and debridement of septic arthritis with continuous suction irrigation can eradicate the infection. The duration of intravenous antibiotics and the hospital stay required is shorter. The functional outcome of joints is satisfactory.


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