Despite several synovial fluid biomarkers for diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) have being investigated, point-of-care (POC) tests using these biomarkers are not widely available. Synovial calprotectin has recently been reported to effectively exclude diagnosis of PJI and a novel lateral flow POC test using it has shown potential to be effective. Thus, the aims of this study were to 1) validate calprotectin POC with enzyme linked immunosorbet assay (ELISA) 2) at 2 separate thresholds for PJI diagnosis in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients using the 2013 Musculoskeletal Infection Society (MSIS) PJI diagnosis criteria as the gold standard.
Intraoperative synovial fluid samples were prospectively collected from 123 patients who underwent revision TKAs (rTKA) at two academic hospitals within the same healthcare system from October 2018 to January 2020. The study was conducted under IRB approval. Included patients followed the hospital standard for their PJI diagnostic work-up. Data collection included demographic, clinical, and laboratory data in compliance with MSIS criteria. Synovial fluid samples were analysed by calprotectin POC and ELISA tests in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Patients were categorized as septic or aseptic using MSIS criteria by two independent reviewers blinded to calprotectin assay results. The calprotectin POC and ELISA test performance characteristics were calculated with sensitivities, specificities, positive, and negative predicted values (PPV and NPV, respectively) and areas under the curve (AUC) for 2 different PJI diagnosis scenarios: (1) a threshold of >50 mg/L and (2) a threshold of >14 mg/L.
According to MSIS criteria, 53 rTKAs were septic while 70 rTKA were aseptic. In the (1) >50 mg/mL threshold scenario, the calprotectin POC and ELISA performance showed 100% agreement with sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, and AUC, respectively, of 98.1%, 95.7%, 94.5%, 98.5%, and 0.969. In the (2) >14 mg/mL threshold scenario, the POC slightly outperformed the ELISA with sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV and AUC of 98.1%, 87.1%, 85.2%, 98.4%, and 0.926, respectively (ELISA values were 98.1%, 82.9%, 81.3%, 98.3%, and 0.905, respectively).
The calprotectin POC test performed as well as the ELISA at the >50mg/L threshold and was slightly better at the >14 mg/L threshold. The >50 mg/L threshold had a better specificity while maintaining the same sensitivity as the >14 mg/L threshold. This test could be effectively implemented as a rule out test. However, further investigations with larger cohorts are necessary to validate these results.