Is Procalcitonin (PCT) a reliable biomarker for preoperative diagnosing of low grade periprosthetic joint infection? : A prospective study

Busch, André GND; Jäger, Marcus GND; Engler, Harald GND; Haversath, Marcel GND; Bielefeld, Charlotte; Landgraeber, Stefan GND; Wegner, Alexander GND

Background: Since a "gold-standard" is missing, diagnosing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) remains a challenge in orthopedic surgery. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of serum and synovial fluid Procalcitonin (S-PCT and SF-PCT) as a diagnostic parameter and to compare it to the biomarkers recommended in the 2018 Definition of periprosthetic hip and knee infection.

Methods: Between August 2018 and July 2019, a prospective cohort study was conducted in 70 patients with painful hip, shoulder and knee arthroplasty. Besides medical history, clinical and laboratory data was gathered. PJI was diagnosed based on the 2018 Definition of periprosthetic hip and knee infection. Preoperative blood and synovial joint fluid were taken for PCT measurement. S-PCT and SF-PCT levels were measured using standard quantitative PCT enzyme immunoassays.

Results: Twenty three patients (33%) were classified as the PJI group and fourty seven patient (67%) as the aseptic group. The mean levels of S-PCT were significantly (p <  0.001) higher in the PJI group than those in the aseptic group (PJI 0.05 ± 0.21 ng/mL (0.0-1.03) vs. aseptic 0.02 ± 0.03 ng/mL (0.0-0.18)). In synovial fluid, the mean PCT values in the aseptic group were significantly higher (p <  0.001) than those of PJI group (PJI 2.7 ± 1.4 ng/mL (0.53-9.7) vs. aseptic 8.7 ± 2.5 ng/mL (0.25-87.9)). S- PCT, with a cut-off level of 0.5 ng/mL, had a sensitivity of 13.0% and a specificity of 91.0%. SF-PCT, with a cut-off level of 5.0 ng/mL, had a sensitivity of 13.0% and a specificity of 52.0%.

Conclusion: S-PCT and SF-PCT appeared to be no reliable biomarkers in the differential diagnosis of PJI from aseptic loosening in total joint arthroplasty.

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Busch, A., Jäger, M., Engler, H., Haversath, M., Bielefeld, C., Landgraeber, S., Wegner, A., 2020. Is Procalcitonin (PCT) a reliable biomarker for preoperative diagnosing of low grade periprosthetic joint infection?: A prospective study. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-020-03266-6
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