J Bone Joint Infect 2017; 2(2):107-113. doi:10.7150/jbji.18308

Research Paper

"Combined Diagnostic Tool" APPlication to a Retrospective Series of Patients Undergoing Total Joint Revision Surgery

Enrico Gallazzi1, Lorenzo Drago2, Andrea Baldini3, Ian Stockley4, David A. George5, Sara Scarponi1, Carlo L. Romanò1✉

1. Department of Reconstructive Surgery of Osteo-articular Infections, I.R.C.C.S. Galeazzi Orthopaedic Institute, Milano, Italy;
2. Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry and Microbiology, I.R.C.C.S. Galeazzi Orthopaedic Institute, Milan, Italy;
3. Department for Orthopaedics, Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano (MI), Italy;
4. Department for Orthopaedics, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield, United Kingdom;
5. Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, University College London Hospitals, London, United Kingdom.


Background: Differentiating between septic and aseptic joint prosthesis may be challenging, since no single test is able to confirm or rule out infection. The choice and interpretation of the panel of tests performed in any case often relies on empirical evaluation and poorly validated scores. The "Combined Diagnostic Tool (CDT)" App, a smartphone application for iOS, was developed to allow to automatically calculate the probability of having a of periprosthetic joint infection, on the basis of the relative sensitivity and specificity of the positive and negative diagnostic tests performed in any given patient.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to apply the CDT software to investigate the ability of the tests routinely performed in three high-volume European centers to diagnose a periprosthetic infection.

Methods: This three-center retrospective study included 120 consecutive patients undergoing total hip or knee revision, and included 65 infected patients (Group A) and 55 patients without infection (Group B). The following parameters were evaluated: number and type of positive and negative diagnostic tests performed pre-, intra- and post-operatively and resultant probability calculated by the CDT App of having a peri-prosthetic joint infection, based on pre-, intra- and post-operative combined tests.

Results: Serological tests were the most common performed, with an average 2.7 tests per patient for Group A and 2.2 for Group B, followed by joint aspiration (0.9 and 0.8 tests per patient, respectively) and imaging techniques (0.5 and 0.2 test per patient). Mean CDT App calculated probability of having an infection based on pre-operative tests was 79.4% for patients in Group A and 35.7 in Group B. Twenty-nine patients in Group A had > 10% chance of not having an infection, and 29 of Group B had > 10% chance of having an infection.

Conclusion: This is the first retrospective study focused on investigating the number and type of tests commonly performed prior to joint revision surgery and aimed at evaluating their combined ability to diagnose a peri-prosthetic infection. CDT App allowed us to demonstrate that, on average, the routine combination of commonly used tests is unable to diagnose pre-operatively a peri-prosthetic infection with a probability higher than 90%.

Keywords: Periprosthetic Joint Infections, PJI, Diagnosis, Smartphone Application, Combined Diagnostic Tool.

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How to cite this article:
Gallazzi E, Drago L, Baldini A, Stockley I, George DA, Scarponi S, Romanò CL. "Combined Diagnostic Tool" APPlication to a Retrospective Series of Patients Undergoing Total Joint Revision Surgery. J Bone Joint Infect 2017; 2(2):107-113. doi:10.7150/jbji.18308. Available from http://www.jbji.net/v02p0107.htm