Whether laminar airflow (LAF) in the operating room (OR) is effective for decreasing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) following total joint arthroplasty (TJA) remains a clinically significant yet controversial issue. This study investigated the association between operating room ventilation systems and the risk of PJI in TJA patients.
We performed a retrospective observational study on consecutive patients undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) from January 2013-September 2017 in two surgical facilities within a single institution, with a minimum 1-year follow-up. All procedures were performed by five board-certified arthroplasty surgeons. The operating rooms at the facilities were equipped with LAF and turbulent ventilation systems, respectively. Patient characteristics were extracted from clinical records. PJI was defined according to Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria within 1-year of the index arthroplasty. A multivariate logistic regression model was performed to explore the association between LAF and risk of 1-year PJI, and then a sensitivity analysis using propensity score matching (PSM) was performed to further validate the findings.
A total of 6,972 patients (2,797 TKA, 4,175 THA) were included. The incidence of PJI within 1 year for patients from the facility without laminar flow was similar at 0·4% to that of patients from the facility with laminar flow at 0·5%. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, after all confounding factors were taken into account, the use of LAF was not significantly associated with reduction of the risk of PJI. After propensity score matching, there was no significant difference in the incidence of PJI within 1 year for patients between the two sites.
The use of LAF in the operating room was not associated with a reduced incidence of PJI following primary TJA. With an appropriate perioperative protocol for infection prevention, LAF does not seem to play a protective role in PJI prevention.