Periprosthetic fungal infections are rare and account for 1–2% of all periprosthetic joint infections (PJI). This study aims at presenting treatment details, clinical and microbiological results in a large single centre cohort.
We retrospectively identified 29 patients (9 total knee replacements (TKA) and 20 total hip replacements (THA) treated for a fungal infection between 2007 and 2019. Microbiological findings, patient demographics and complications were analysed. Statistical analysis was performed using descriptive statistics; non-parametric analysis were performed using the Mann-Whitney U-Test. Infection-free survival was determined using Kaplan-Meier analysis and differences in survival were analysed using the log-rank test. The p value was set at p<0.05 with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) provided.
28% (8/29) suffered from reinfection. The reinfection-free survival probability was 65% (95% CI 45–85) after a median follow- up period of 28 months (IQR 6 – 39). With the numbers we had, we were not able to detect a difference between THA and TKA re-infections (p=0.517). Four patients underwent amputation, 3 patients had a definitive girdlestone hip and eight patients died after a median of 5 months after first-stage surgery (IQR 1–7).
All patients treated had positive synovial fluid or tissue cultures for Candida species. In 22 /29 patients C. albicans, in 3 patients C. parapsilosis, in 2 patients C. glabrata and in 1 patient each C. famata, C. dubliniensis and C. gulliermondii. Polymicrobial bacterial infection was found in 86% of patients with staphylococci in 20 patients, E. coli in 2 patients, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, pseudomonas, acinetobacter and achromobacter species in 1 patient each.
When investigating risk factors for reinfection, with the numbers we had we were not able to find a significant difference for patients with polymicrobial infection (p=0.974), azole-resistant Candida (p=0.491), tobacco users (p=0.175), or diabetics (p=0.54). Furthermore, median age (73 vs. 72, p=0.756) and Charlson comorbidity score (6 (interquartile range (IQR) 4–8) vs. 8 (IQR 5–10), p=0.184) were not different between the groups while on the other hand there was a trend for a higher body mass index in patients with reinfection (34 (IQR 31–38) vs. 28 (IQR 25–33), p=0.075).
Fungal PJI is associated with poor reinfection free survival, frequent revisions, and high mortality. All infections were caused by Candida spp. in which azole-resistance most be considered when planning treatment. While polymicrobial infection complicated treatment there was no difference in survival. A higher BMI and comorbidity score might be associated with higher risk for reinfections.