[Approach to joint effusion]

M Henniger, S Rehart
Der Orthop├Ąde 2016, 45 (9): 795-806
The fundamental components of the differential diagnostics of joint effusions are the patient history and clinical examination. In the case of unclear findings, arthrosonography can provide information for the distinction between intra-articular and extra-articular pathologies. In atraumatic joint effusions inflammatory parameters in blood are determined in order to differentiate between systemic inflammatory and local inflammatory joint effusions. In the case of normal values further diagnostics are carried out using imaging. With elevated inflammatory parameters the main differential diagnoses are gouty arthritis, autoimmune joint processes and septic arthritis. When in doubt, a joint aspiration and synovial fluid analysis should be performed to rule out septic arthritis or if necessary confirmation of gouty arthritis.

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