Arthroscopic irrigation and debridement is associated with favourable short-term outcomes vs. open management: an ACS-NSQIP database analysis

Mhamad Faour, Assem A Sultan, Jaiben George, Linsen T Samuel, Gannon L Curtis, Robert Molloy, Carlos A Higuera, Michael A Mont
Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy 2019 January 2

PURPOSE: Septic arthritis of the knee is an orthopaedic emergency that is associated with marked morbidity and can potentially be life threatening. Surgical debridement can be performed either arthroscopically or via an arthrotomy. The aim of this study was to compare the 30-day complications and adverse outcomes between the two procedures.

METHODS: Patients with a diagnosis of septic arthritis of the knee between 2011 and 2015 were identified using the ACS-NSQIP database. The study population included 695 patients, who had knee septic arthritis and underwent either an arthroscopic irrigation or debridement (I&D) (n = 464) or open irrigation and debridement (n = 231). Preoperative data included demographics, independent functional status, and comorbidities. Outcomes of interest included wound complications, infectious complications, cardiovascular events, hospital readmissions, and reoperations, or any of the previous adverse events.

RESULTS: Both cohorts were similar in most baseline characteristics. Bleeding requiring transfusion was significantly lower in the arthroscopic (n = 13; 3.6%) compared to the open procedure (n = 31; 13.4%; p = 0.0001). Home discharge was significantly higher in the arthroscopic irrigation and debridement group (n = 310; 67.5%) compared to the open group (n = 126; 55%; p = 0.0013). The overall incidence of adverse events was lower in the arthroscopic group (n = 158; 34%) compared to the open group (n = 112; 49%; p = 0.0002). There was no difference in rates of infectious complications, thromboembolic events, hospital readmission, reoperation, or mortality between the groups. Open irrigation and debridement was associated with higher risk of bleeding requiring transfusion (OR = 3.79; 95% CI: 2.02-7.13; p = 0.0001), higher risk of incidence of adverse events (OR = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.02-2.08; p = 0.039), and lower home discharge (OR = 3.79; 95% CI: 2.02-7.13; p = 0.0001) within 30 days after the procedure.

CONCLUSION: Arthroscopic irrigation and debridement demonstrated favourable short-term outcomes. Patients who underwent arthroscopic irrigation and debridement had lower rates of blood transfusions, lower rates of adverse events, and higher home discharge rates compared to open irrigation and debridement. This study is the largest analysis comparing arthroscopic vs. open irrigation and debridement in a national database sample. These findings conclude that arthroscopic debridement can be an alternative first-line option in managing septic arthritis.


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