The fate of positive intraoperative cultures following conversion total hip arthroplasty

Academic Article


  • © The Author(s) 2020. Introduction: The objectives of this study are to report the rates of positive intraoperative cultures obtained during conversion total hip arthroplasty (THA) according to index surgery, and to describe the natural history of treatment for a consecutive series of patients with unexpected positive intraoperative cultures during conversion THA. Methods: We reviewed all patients at 2 institutions undergoing conversion THA from prior open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of acetabular and hip fractures or hemiarthroplasty for displaced femoral neck fractures from 2011 to 2018. Intraoperative cultures were taken in 105 patients. Positive intraoperative cultures during conversion were recorded and managed with an infectious diseases consult. The outcomes including PJI at 90 days and 1 year follow-up were documented. Results: Overall, 19 of 105 patients (18%) undergoing conversion THA had positive intraoperative cultures, with the highest rates in the hemiarthroplasty 7/16 (44%) and acetabular ORIF 9/48 (19%) groups. All 19 patients were initially treated conservatively: 8 received IV antibiotics, 10 received no additional therapy, and 1 received oral antibiotics. 4/9 acetabular fracture conversions developed PJI at 1 year, with 3 requiring multiple irrigation and debridement/polyethylene exchanges to control the infection while the 4th patient required 2-stage exchange. There were no 1-year PJI from any of the other index procedures after conversion. All 7 hemiarthroplasty patients with positive cultures were treated to resolution with 4–8 weeks IV antibiotics alone. Conclusions: Patients undergoing conversion THA from prior hip or acetabular fracture have a high rate of positive intraoperative cultures. As such, all patients undergoing conversion THA from prior hip or acetabular fracture fixation should undergo thorough diagnostic workup prior to surgery, and have intraoperative cultures obtained during surgery if infection remains suspicious. Further work should be performed to develop MSIS criteria for preoperative management of patients undergoing conversion THA.
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  • Hip International  Journal
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    Author List

  • Cichos KH; Detweiler M; Parvizi J; McGwin G; Heatherly AR; Ghanem ES