Septic Arthritis

  • Commonly caused by staphylococcus
    • Nearly always bacterial, but in rare cases can be viral or fungal
  • Any joint that is hot, red and tender is a septic joint until proven otherwise! You must aspirate these joints! Septic arthritis can rapidly cause irreversible joint damage.
  • Patient often (but not always) has systemic fever, and raised inflammatory markers (ESR and CRP)
  • Treatment (for staphylococcal): IV benzylpenicillin and flucloxacillin.
    • You can also aspirate the joint for analgesia, as well as for diagnosis
  • Suppurative arthritis – literally – ‘pus forming’ arthritis – this term is pretty much synonymous with septic arthritis. Sometimes also called Pyogenic arthritis.
 

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