What is Septic Arthritis?
Septic, or infectious, arthritis is infection of one or more joints by microorganisms. Normally, the joint is lubricated with a small amount of fluid that is referred to as synovial fluid or joint fluid. The normal joint fluid is sterile and, if removed and cultured in the laboratory, no microbes will be found. With septic arthritis, microbes are identifiable in an affected joint fluid.
Most commonly, septic arthritis affects a single joint, but occasionally more joints are involved. The joints affected vary somewhat depending on the microbe causing the infection and the predisposing risk factors of the person affected. Septic arthritis is also called infectious arthritis.
Symptoms of Septic Arthritis
Sudden symptoms occur in septic arthritis and they include:
- severe pain
- fever and chill
- Swelling in the affected joint along with acute pain.
If you have septic arthritis in hip, you may experience a pain in groin area. It becomes worse if you try to walk in this case. Almost all cases have fluid leakage into the affected joint. Depending on how deeply the joint is infected, the soreness or warmness of the joint is experienced.
Risk factors of Septic Arthritis
During arthroscopic surgery and prosthetic joint surgery staphylococcus organism can enter into joint.
- Patients having rheumatoid arthritis
- Certain types of cancers
- Certain systemic infections
- Sickle cell anemia,
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Patients with artificial (prosthetic) joints
- IV abusers and alcoholics
Also known as: Infectious Arthritis
The goals with testing for septic arthritis are to identify the microorganism causing the infection, to determine which antimicrobial therapy will be effective, to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, and to evaluate the physical status of the affected joint(s).
- Blood culture - used to determine if a microorganism is present in the blood
- Culture of joint fluid or of other body fluids or tissues, such as sputum, urine, cerebrospinal fluid - to detect microorganisms, to determine which antimicrobials they are likely to be susceptible to, and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment
- Synovial fluid analysis - to detect microorganisms and to see if there are any signs, such as crystals in the joint fluid, that may indicate a different or co-existing cause for joint pain (such as gout)
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) - this is a group of tests used to evaluate a patient’s red and white blood cells and hemoglobin to help evaluate and monitor the condition
- X-ray of joint(s) - used to help evaluate joint damage; may not show abnormalities until significant damage exists
Treatment of Septic Arthritis
- Diagnosis depends upon following factors:
- Complete physical exam
- Medical history
- Synovial fluid
- Blood tests
With arthrocetesis procedure, fluid is removed from the joint and it is tested indifferent ways to check the various possibilities.
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