The diagnosis of septic arthritis mostly relies on clinical examination, several blood parameters including white blood cell count, C-reactive protein, sedimentation, and the analysis of the joint aspiration. However, the diagnosis can be difficult when the symptoms are vague and the information obtained from laboratory might be insufficient for definitive diagnosis. This study aimed to evaluate several ratios obtained from routine blood tests for a possible use in the diagnosis of septic arthritis.
The adult patients who were operated in our clinic due to septic arthritis between 2014–2020 were identified and retrospectively evaluated. The patients with any blood disorders or missing file information were excluded. A total of 36 patients were found to be eligible for inclusion. The control group included 40 patients without any sign of infection who underwent total knee arthroplasty due to knee osteoarthritis. Preoperative blood tests of each patients were examined. In addition to CRP and sedimentation values, neutrophil-lymphocyte, monocyte-lymphocyte, platelet-lymphocyte, and platelet count-mean platelet volume were calculated and receiving operating characteristics (ROC) curve analysis was made to determine the sensitivity, specificity and area under curve (AUC) values of these parameters.
The distribution of affected joint in septic arthritis group was as follow; 22 knees, 6 hips, 4 shoulders, 2 elbows, 1 wrist and 1 ankle. The cultures of joint aspiration yielded positive result in 19 patients while the cultures were negative in 17 patients. All of the analyzed parameters were significantly different between the groups (p<0.001). ROC curve analysis results are given in detail, in Table 1 and Figure 1. The AUC value was 97.3 when only CRP and sedimentation values were used but increased to 98.6 when neutrophile/ lymphocyte ratio was added and increased to 100 when all analyzed parameters were included.
The analyzed parameters were found to increase the overall sensitivity and specificity when used together with acute phase reactants. However, when evaluated separately, CRP and sedimentation were still found as the most valuable parameters in the diagnosis of septic arthritis. In the diagnosis of septic arthritis, 35 mm/hr cut-off value for sedimentation and 10 mg/L cut-off value for CRP were found more sensitive and specific compared to standard laboratory cut-off values of 20 mm/hr and 5 mg/L.
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