Propionibacterium spp. in prosthetic joint infections : a diagnostic challenge

Zappe, B. and Graf, S. and Ochsner, P. E. and Zimmerli, W. and Sendi, P.. (2008) Propionibacterium spp. in prosthetic joint infections : a diagnostic challenge. Archives of orthopaedic and trauma surgery, Vol. 128, no. 10. pp. 1039-1046.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6004908

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INTRODUCTION: Propionibacterium species are common inhabitants of the skin and usually non-pathogenic for humans. However, Propionibacterium spp. can occasionally cause infections, but are estimated to play a minor role in prosthetic joint infections (PJI). The relative frequency of these anaerobes and their potential to cause surgical site infection may be clinically underestimated. An unknown proportion of these infections might be missed, since little is known about their clinical presentation, and since growth of Propionibacterium spp. in diagnostic samples is often interpreted as contamination. Thus, a hypothesis is being tested, stating that Propionibacterium spp. is not as rare as often reported, and it can cause severe soft-tissue damages in PJI. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this retrospective analysis, we reviewed all PJI that had been treated in our institution from 2000 to 2005, and assessed the relative frequency of those caused by Propionibacterium spp. In the identified cases, features that led to the diagnosis (clinical, laboratory, radiological, microbiological and histopathological characteristics) were analysed. RESULTS: Of 139 cases of prosthetic joint infections, 8(6%) were caused by Propionibacterium spp. Seven patients complained of pain as the main symptom, and four had damaged soft-tissue. Analysis of the diagnostic procedures showed a median of 39% positive samples out of all cultured biopsies (median 9.5 biopsies per case), with a median time-to-positivity of 8 days. Results of histopathological examinations of the periprosthetic tissue correlated well with the clinical courses. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that Propionibacterium associated prosthetic joint infections occur at a relative frequency that is comparable to many other pathogens. Clinical signs are generally subtle, but the spectrum includes also significant soft-tissue damages. In this study, a median of 9.5 biopsies per case, an incubation time of 14 days, and the aid of histopathological examinations proved to be helpful in establishing the diagnosis.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine > Bereich Medizinische Fächer (Klinik) > Ehemalige Einheiten Medizinische Fächer (Klinik) > Allgemeine innere Medizin Liestal (Zimmerli)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Klinische Forschung > Bereich Medizinische Fächer (Klinik) > Ehemalige Einheiten Medizinische Fächer (Klinik) > Allgemeine innere Medizin Liestal (Zimmerli)
UniBasel Contributors:Zimmerli, Werner
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:08 Nov 2013 08:28
Deposited On:08 Nov 2013 08:28

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