There have been many attempts to define the criteria by which prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is diagnosed. Our aim is to validate the 2021 European Bone and Joint Infection Society (EBJIS) definition of PJI.
This is a multicenter retrospective study of patients who have undergone total hip or knee revision surgery in four different European institutions between 2013–2018. Cases with less than four intraoperative microbiology samples; no preoperative/intraoperative synovial fluid differential leukocyte count or intraoperative histology were excluded. Minimum follow-up of at least two years after revision surgery if no subsequent infection and/or the need for implant removal was also required. All cases were classified using the 2021 EBJIS, the 2018 International Consensus Meeting (ICM) and the 2013 Musculoskeletal Infection Society (MSIS) PJI definitions.
Definitive PJI classification according to the different definitions of the 507 patients included are presented in table 1.
The EBJIS definition classifies 40.4%(205/507) of the cases as confirmed infections compared to 33.9%(p=0.038) and 29.4%(p<0.001) in 2018 ICM and 2013 MSIS classifications respectively. Compared to 2018 ICM classification it also offers significantly less undetermined cases – 5.0% vs. 11.4%(p<0.001).
Free from infection Kaplan-Meyer survival curve shows significantly better outcome for EBJIS unlikely compared to confirmed subgroup(p=0.031). EBJIS likely subgroup survival is not significantly different from unlikely(p=0.529) or confirmed(p=0.717) cohorts.
Among the MSIS not infected cohort the newly classified EBJIS confirmed/likely cases present higher subsequent infection rate (albeit not statistically significant) when compared to EBJIS infection unlikely cases − 16.0%(13/81) vs. 10.1%(28/277). This subsequent PJI rate is similar to the MSIS infected cohort. A similar trend is not obvious within ICM 2018 not infected subgroup.
The EBJIS 2021 definition is shown to be the most sensitive definition while also offering a smaller number of undetermined cases. Newly diagnosed infections seem to have a similar prognosis as “classically” infected cases.
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