One of the most accurate and inexpensive tests in detection of prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is synovial fluid white blood cell (WBC) count and differential. Since leukocytes produce many different interleukins (IL) in situation of PJI, we hypothesized that ILs could be even more accurate in detection of PJI. The aim of the study was to test, if the synovial fluid IL-6 level is superior to WBC count and differential in detection of PJI.
Unselected patients undergoing total hip or knee revision surgery were prospectively included. In perioperative assessment phase, WBC count, differential and IL-6 levels of synovial fluid were measured. Patients were labelled as positive or negative according to the predefined cut-off values for IL-6 (230pg/ml) and WBC count with differential (1,7 × 109 WBC/ml with ≥65% of granulocytes). During the surgery, at least 4 intraoperative samples for microbiological and one for histopathological analysis were obtained. PJI was defined as presence of sinus tract, inflammation in histopathological samples, and growth of the same microorganism in at least two or more samples of periprosthetic tissue or synovial fluid. Binary diagnostic test was performed to check the diagnostic strength of both methods in detection of PJI.
49 joints of 48 patients (mean age, 71 years; 53% females) undergoing artificial hip (n = 24) or knee (n = 25) revision surgery were included. 11 joints (22%) were infected. Sensitivity of synovial fluid WBC count with differential was 82%, specificity 97%, accuracy 94%, positive and negative predictive values were 90% and 95%, respectively.
Sensitivity of IL-6 level was 73%, specificity 95%, accuracy 90%, positive and negative predictive values were 80% and 92%, respectively. There was a strong statistical agreement between both tests (Kappa value=0.749) and consequently there was no significant difference in detection of PJI comparing both tests (P=0.171).
Our study revealed that synovial fluid IL-6 level is not superior to synovial fluid WBC count with differential in detecting PJI.