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This article is the author's final published version in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Volume 105, Issue 6, March 2023, Pages 448 - 454.

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Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

his is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CC-BY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.


BACKGROUND: Antigen immunoassays to detect synovial fluid (SF) microorganisms have recently been made available for clinical use. The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of an SF microorganism antigen immunoassay detection (MID) panel, evaluate the panel's capability to detect microorganisms in the setting of culture-negative periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), and determine diagnostic predictive values of the MID panel for PJI.

METHODS: This study included 67,441 SF samples obtained from a hip or knee arthroplasty, from 2,365 institutions across the United States, submitted to 1 laboratory for diagnostic testing. All data were prospectively compiled and then were analyzed retrospectively. Preoperative SF data were used to classify each specimen by the International Consensus Meeting (2018 ICM) definition of PJI: 49,991 were not infected, 5,071 were inconclusive, and 12,379 were infected. The MID panel, including immunoassay tests to detect Staphylococcus, Candida, and Enterococcus, was evaluated to determine its diagnostic performance.

RESULTS: The MID panel demonstrated a sensitivity of 94.2% for infected samples that yielded positive cultures for target microorganisms (Staphylococcus, Candida, or Enterococcus). Among infected samples yielding positive cultures for their respective microorganism, individual immunoassay test sensitivity was 93.0% for Staphylococcus, 92.3% for Candida, and 97.2% for Enterococcus. The specificity of the MID panel for samples that were not infected was 98.4%, yielding a false-positive rate of 1.6%. The MID panel detected microorganisms among 49.3% of SF culture-negative infected samples. For PJI as a diagnosis, the positive predictive value of the MID panel was 91.7% and the negative predictive value was 93.8%. Among MID-positive PJIs, 16.2% yielded a discordant cultured organism instead of that detected by the antigen test.

CONCLUSIONS: SF microorganism antigen testing provides a timely adjunct method to detect microorganisms in the preoperative SF aspirate, yielding a low false-positive rate and enabling the detection of a microorganism in nearly one-half of SF culture-negative PJIs.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognostic Level II . See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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