Accurate diagnosis is key in correctly managing prosthetic joint infection (PJI). Our aim is to compare the preoperative performance of three PJI definitions comparing it to definitive postoperative classification.
This is a multicenter retrospective study of patients who have undergone total hip or knee revision surgery in four different European institutions. For this specific study, cases with no preoperative synovial fluid differential leukocyte count and less than four intraoperative microbiology samples were excluded.
Cases were classified using the 2021 EBJIS, the 2018 International Consensus Meeting (ICM) and the 2013 Musculoskeletal Infection Society (MSIS) PJI definitions. Preoperative classification was based on clinical features, inflammatory markers and synovial fluid leukocyte count and microbiology results.
Preoperative and definitive PJI classification status of the 384 patients included are presented in figure 1. EBJIS definition showed the highest agreement between preoperative and definitive classification (k=0.86, CI95% 0.81–0.90, p<0.001) compared to ICM 2018 (k=0.80, CI95% 0.75–0.84, p<0.001) or MSIS 2013 (k=0.70, CI95% 0.62–0.77, p<0.001).
Compared to its respective definitive classification: EBJIS preoperative unlikely result shows 86.8% (95%CI 81.3%–91.2%) sensitivity and 87.7% (95%CI 83.3%–91.1%) negative predictive value (NPV); ICM 2018 preoperative not infected result shows 83.5% (95%CI 77.4%–88.5%) sensitivity and 86.2% (95%CI 81.9%–88.6%) NPV and; MSIS 2013 preoperative not infected result shows 63.9% (95%CI 55.0%–72.1%) sensitivity and 84.3% (95%CI 81.1%–87.1%) NPV. Around half of the preoperative EBJIS likely (45.8%) and ICM 2018 inconclusive (54.5%) turn out to be infected postoperatively.
If we consider the more sensitive definition (EBJIS) as the gold standard: ICM 2018 preoperative not infected result shows 75.1% (95%CI 68.5%–81.0%) sensitivity and 78.3% (95%CI 73.9%–82.2%) NPV and; MSIS 2013 preoperative not infected result shows 42.1% (95% CI 35.2%–49.4%) sensitivity and 62.0% (59.2%–64.8) NPV.
The EBJIS 2021 definition is not only the most sensitive definition as it was shown to be the most effective in preoperatively ruling out PJI when there is a negative result.
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