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A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Risk Factors for an Infection After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction.

BACKGROUND: Identifying risk factors for an infection after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and following targeted preventive strategies can effectively reduce this potentially serious complication.

PURPOSE: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify the risk factors for an infection after ACLR.

STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4.

METHODS: The PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases were searched from inception to September 1, 2022, for prospective and retrospective studies investigating risk factors for any type of infection after ACLR. Odds ratios (ORs) or mean differences were calculated for potential risk factors if ≥2 studies assessed the same risk factor. A qualitative analysis of variables was performed if a meta-analysis could not be conducted.

RESULTS: A total of 17 studies with 141,991 patients were included in this review. The overall pooled infection rate was 0.86% (range, 0.24%-5.50%). There were 20 risk factors identified for analysis. Of these, 7 variables independently increased the odds of an infection after ACLR: (1) male sex (OR, 1.90 [95% CI, 1.33-2.73]), (2) diabetes (OR, 2.69 [95% CI, 1.66-4.35]), (3) hamstring tendon autograft (OR, 2.51 [95% CI, 2.03-3.10]), (4) revision ACLR (OR, 2.31 [95% CI, 1.22-4.37]), (5) professional athlete status (OR, 6.21 [95% CI, 1.03-37.38]), (6) lateral tenodesis (OR, 3.45 [95% CI, 1.63-7.28]), and (7) corticosteroid use (OR, 7.83 [95% CI, 3.68-16.63]). No significant associations were found between postoperative infections and age, body mass index, smoking, meniscal repair, or outpatient surgery.

CONCLUSION: This review revealed that an increased risk of infections after ACLR was associated with male sex, diabetes, hamstring tendon autograft, revision surgery, professional athlete status, lateral tenodesis, and steroid use. Knowledge of the risk factors associated with an infection after ACLR may facilitate the identification of high-risk cases and the implementation of preventive measures to mitigate the serious consequences of this complication.

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