Periprosthetic joint infection is an increasing reason for revision surgery. Tissue cultures are a standard (std.) diagnostic procedure but may be hindered by bacteria that are difficult to cultivate. The use of dithiothreitol (DTT) to detach the formed biofilm has been proposed to improve the diagnostic security. The aim was to compare the diagnosis results using the microDTTect device with the routine PJI diagnostics and next generation sequencing (NGS) from DTT treated explants.
66 patients with revision surgeries were included in this study (38 aseptic; 28 septic). We compared std. microbiology tissue cultures with the microDTTect cultures of the DTT treated explants and NGS of bacterial DNA isolated from DTT solution.
In 75% of the septic cases, the std. microbiology was in line with the microDTTect cultures. In 8% of the aseptic cases, the microDTTect culture indicated a present pathogen. In 71% of the septic cases, NGS was compared to the std. microbiology and NGS. The concordance in the aseptic cohort between NGS and std. microbiology was 79%. Staphylococcus were most frequently detected by all three techniques Polymicrobial infections, were detected less frequently by culturing techniques, but with a high sensitivity using NGS.
Our data indicate that tissue cultures show a similar reliability compared to the other techniques. The DTT culture method had a sensitivity of 75% while the specificity was 92%. NGS had a sensitivity of 71% and a specificity of 79%. These results may improve the treatment decision in clinical practice.