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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume

Volume 99, Issue 17, September 2017, Pages 1419-1427.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.2106/JBJS.16.01395 Copyright © THE JOURNAL OF BONE AND JOINT SURGERY


BACKGROUND: Despite the availability of a battery of tests, the diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) continues to be challenging. Serum D-dimer assessment is a widely available test that detects fibrinolytic activities that occur during infection. We hypothesized that patients with PJI may have a high level of circulating D-dimer and that the presence of a high level of serum D-dimer may be a sign of persistent infection in patients awaiting reimplantation.

METHODS: This prospective study was initiated to enroll patients undergoing primary and revision arthroplasty. Our cohort consisted of 245 patients undergoing primary arthroplasty (n = 23), revision for aseptic failure (n = 86), revision for PJI (n = 57), or reimplantation (n = 29) or who had infection in a site other than a joint (n = 50). PJI was defined using the Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria. In all patients, serum D-dimer level, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and C-reactive protein (CRP) level were measured preoperatively.

RESULTS: The median D-dimer level was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) for the patients with PJI (1,110 ng/mL [range, 243 to 8,487 ng/mL]) than for the patients with aseptic failure (299 ng/mL [range, 106 to 2,571 ng/mL). Using the Youden index, 850 ng/mL was determined as the optimal threshold value for serum D-dimer for the diagnosis of PJI. Serum D-dimer outperformed both ESR and serum CRP, with a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 93%. ESR and CRP had a sensitivity of 73% and 79% and a specificity of 78% and 80%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of ESR and CRP combined was 84% (95% confidence interval [CI], 76% to 90%) and 47% (95% CI, 36% to 58%), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: It appears that serum D-dimer is a promising marker for the diagnosis of PJI. This test may also have a great utility for determining the optimal timing of reimplantation.

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

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