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Prosthetic joint infections: clinical management, diagnosis, and treatment

Matteo Bassetti, Nadia Castaldo, Barbara Cadeo, Alessia Carnelutti
Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 2019, 32 (2): 102-112

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Prosthetic joint infections (PJIs) represent one of the most disastrous complications in prosthetic surgery, requiring long hospitalization, prolonged antimicrobial treatment and repeated surgical interventions. No gold standard test to formulate diagnosis exist. A combination of high index of suspicion, physical examination, microbiological and biohumoral investigations is required. Therapeutical approach should be based on a multidisciplinary team. In our center, a two-stage approach is preferred. As regards the choice of the empirical antibiotic backbone, individual risk factors for multiple-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens should be considered. Several studies enhance the possibility to shorten the length of antibiotic couses.

RECENT FINDINGS: Some interesting improvements have been made in the setting of PJIs management. As regards diagnosis, novel biomarkers and nuclear imaging are acquiring more importance. Molecular biology techniques also offer the possibility to formulate rapid microbiological identification. The pattern of PJIs is evolving towards higher rates of MDR causes. During the last decade, a number of new antibiotic molecules with activity against MDRs have been approved. Some of them are also available either in oral formulation or as long-acting compounds, offering the opportunity for early patient's discharge, with expected healthcare costs saving.

SUMMARY: Management of PJIs still represents a major threat for clinicians. Improvements in surgical techniques and antibiotic pipeline promise to revolutionize the approach in next years. Despite data from our experience confirm the efficacy of shorter antibiotic courses and the value of new molecules, randomized clinical trials are lacking. More data are needed in order to modify the routine clinical practice.


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