Retrospective Analysis of Septic Arthritis Caused by Intra-Articular Viscosupplementation and Steroid Injections in a Single Outpatient Center

Mujtaba Mohamed, Swapnil Patel, Kathy Plavnik, Edward Liu, Kathleen Casey, Mohammad A. Hossain


Background: Septic arthritis is defined by the presence of pathogen(s) in a joint by direct inoculation or hematogenous spread. Most common organisms include Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Clinical presentation is fever, warmth and night pain, with most common joints involved being the knee and hip. Iatrogenic septic arthritis is an uncommon complication of intra-articular injection for osteoarthritis yet its complications can be devastating. We aim to highlight ten cases of iatrogenic septic arthritis in retrospective study reviewing symptoms, signs, laboratory data, causing organisms and reasons leading to those infections.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of charts of ten patients who were admitted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center with diagnosis of iatrogenic septic arthritis.

Results: Average age of patients is 69.9 years. Most common comorbidities seen in our patient were hypertension and diabetes mellitus. The most common intra-articular agents that were injected were cortisone and Synvisc. The mean incubation period was 11.9 days. Most common presenting symptoms were joint pain and swelling. The most common organism isolated in cultures was Streptococcus mitis. A total of 100% of patients underwent surgical intervention for septic arthritis. One case was complicated by sepsis.

Conclusions: Iatrogenic septic arthritis is not common; however its complications can be catastrophic to patients. Improper sterile techniques and untrained physicians are the main risks factors for this complication. Physicians should take proper sterile measures to avoid complications of intra-articular injections.

J Clin Med Res. 2019;11(7):480-483


Septic arthritis; Intra-articular injections; Steroid injections

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