The diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection and its differentiation from aseptic loosening remains problematic. The definitive laboratory diagnostic test is the recovery of identical infectious agents from multiple intraoperative tissue samples; however, interpretation of positive cultures is often complex as infection is frequently associated with low numbers of commensal microorganisms, in particular the coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS). In this investigation, the value of serum procalcitonin (PCT), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) as predictors of infection in revision hip replacement surgery is assessed. Furthermore, the diagnostic value of serum IgG to short-chain exocellular lipoteichoic acid (sce-LTA) is assessed in patients with infection due to CNS. Presurgical levels of conventional serum markers of infection including C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and white blood cell count (WBC) is also established. Forty-six patients undergoing revision hip surgery were recruited with a presumptive clinical diagnosis of either septic (16 patients) or aseptic loosening (30 patients). The diagnosis was confirmed microbiologically and levels of serum markers were determined. Serum levels of IL-6 and sICAM-1 were significantly raised in patients with septic loosening (P=0.001 and P=0.0002, respectively). Serum IgG to sce-LTA was elevated in three out of four patients with infection due to CNS. In contrast, PCT was not found to be of value in differentiating septic and aseptic loosening. Furthermore, CRP, ESR and WBC were significantly higher (P=0.0001, P=0.0001 and P=0.003, respectively) in patients with septic loosening. Serum levels of IL-6, sICAM-1 and IgG to sce-LTA may provide additional information to facilitate the diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection.
- biological markers
- hip prosthesis