Advanced imaging shows extra-articular abscesses in two out of three adult patients with septic arthritis of the native hip joint

Cools, Jordi; Ghijselings, Stijn; Ruythooren, Fred; Jentjens, Sander; Noppe, Nathalie; Metsemakers, Willem-Jan; Vles, Georges

Background: Septic arthritis (SA) of the native adult hip is a rare orthopaedic emergency requiring prompt diagnosis and treatment. As clinical presentation and laboratory findings are frequently atypical, advanced imaging is often requested. This retrospective study aimed to investigate the prevalence and pattern of extra-articular infectious manifestations and their implications for pre-operative advanced imaging in patients with proven SA of the native hip joint. Methods: Out of 41 patients treated surgically for SA of the native hip during a 16-year period at our tertiary referral hospital, 25 received advanced imaging (computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET-CT)) prior to initial intervention. For each investigation, a specific set of variables was systematically interpreted, and the most suitable surgical approach was determined. The prognostic value was evaluated by comparing specific outcome measures and the extent of extra-articular involvement. Results: It was found that 32 % of patients had an abscess in one anatomical region, 32 % of patients had abscesses in multiple anatomical regions, and only 36 % of patients had no substantial abscess. Gluteal abscesses were especially common in patients with SA due to contiguous spread. Abscesses in the iliopsoas region were more common in patients with SA due to hematogenous seeding. A combination of several different surgical approaches was deemed necessary to adequately deal with the various presentations. No significant prognostic factors could be identified. Conclusion: We recommend performing advanced imaging in patients with suspected or proven septic arthritis of the native hip joint, as extra-articular abscesses are present in 64 % and might require varying anatomical approaches.

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Cools, Jordi / Ghijselings, Stijn / Ruythooren, Fred / et al: Advanced imaging shows extra-articular abscesses in two out of three adult patients with septic arthritis of the native hip joint. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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