What is Infective Arthritis?
Septic arthritis is a painful infection in a joint. The infection begins with germs that travel through the bloodstream from another part of an individual’s body. Septic arthritis can also occur when a penetrating injury delivers germs directly into the joint.
Infants and older adults are most likely to develop septic arthritis. Knees are most commonly affected, but septic arthritis also can affect hips, shoulders and other joints. The infection can quickly and severely damage the cartilage and bone within the joint, requiring prompt medical treatment.
How To Treat Infective Arthritis?
Treatment involves draining the joint with a needle or surgically. Antibiotics are used usual to treat the infection.
Because of the increasing use of prosthetic joints, infection associated with these devices has become the most common and challenging type of septic arthritis. The incidence of prosthetic joint infection (PJI) among all prosthesis recipients ranges from 2% to 10%.
Septic arthritis is also becoming increasingly common among people who are immune-suppressed and elderly persons. Of people with septic arthritis, 45% are older than 65 years; these groups are more likely to have various comorbid disease states. More than fifty percent of patients with septic arthritis are male.
X-rays are typically done to look for joint damage. Blood tests monitor inflammation. MRI scanning is sensitive in evaluating joint destruction but is less useful in the early stages. Blood tests can also be considered to detect and monitor inflammation.
Septic Arthritis Facts
- Septic arthritis is infection of one or more joints by microorganisms
- Septic arthritis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi
- Risks for the development of septic arthritis include taking immune-suppression medicines, intravenous drug abuse, past joint disease, injury or surgery, and underlying medical illnesses, including diabetes, alcoholism, sickle cell disease, rheumatic diseases, and immune deficiency disorders.
- Symptoms of septic arthritis include fever, chills, as well as joint pain, swelling, redness, stiffness, and warmth.
- Septic arthritis is diagnosed by identifying infected joint fluid
- Septic arthritis is treated with antibiotics and drainage of the infected joint fluid from the joint
- Doctors rely on joint drainage and antibiotic drugs to treat septic arthritis.
Types of Prosthetic Joint Infections
Three major types of prosthetic joint infections:
- Those that occur early, within 3 months of implantation
- Those that are delayed, within 3-24 months of implantation
- Those that occur later than 24 months following the implantation
Most cases of early prosthetic joint infection are caused by S aureus, whereas delayed infections are due to coagulase-negative S aureus (CoNS) and gram-negative aerobes. Both of these types are acquired in the operating room. Late cases of prosthetic joint infection are secondary to hematogenous spread from various infectious foci.
Important Procedures For Healing Septic Injury
- Removing the infected joint fluid is crucial. Drainage methods include:
- In some cases, your doctor can withdraw the infected fluid with a needle inserted into the joint space.
In arthroscopy, a flexible tube with a video camera at its tip is placed in the joint through a small incision. Suction and drainage tubes are inserted through small incisions around the joint.
Open surgery. Some joints, such as the hip, are more difficult to drain with a needle or arthroscopy, so an open surgical procedure might be necessary.
To select the most effective medication, the doctor identifies the microbe causing the infection. Antibiotics are usually given through a vein in the arm. Later, the doctor may recommend for oral antibiotics.
Typically, treatment lasts from two to six weeks. Antibiotics carry a risk of side effects, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Allergic reactions also can occur. Doctor’s advice and consultation is necessary during the medication.
Other Treatment Options
Most cases of infectious arthritis require surgery, such as arthroscopy or an open procedure, to wash out the joint. On occasion, surgery is required to remove any damaged sections of the joint or replace the joint, but this is only done after the infection has been treated.
Other treatment methods to reduce pain include:
- using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- resting the joint
- splinting the affected joint
- physical therapy
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