¿Las pruebas de laboratorio en adultos con artritis monoarticular: Estas pueden excluir una situación séptica?
Siu Fai Li, MD, Jessica Henderson, MD, Eitan Dickman, MD and Robert Darzynkiewicz, MD
From the Department of Emergency Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY (SFL, JH, ED, RD).
Address for correspondence and reprints: Address for correspondence and reprints: Siu Fai Li, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center, 1400 Pelham Parkway South, Bronx, NY 10461. Fax 718-918-7459; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is difficult to differentiate septic arthritis from other causes of monoarticular arthritis solely with a history and physical examination. The clinician must rely on ancillary tests to make a diagnosis, such as the white blood cell count of peripheral blood (WBC), the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and the white blood cell count of the joint fluid (jWBC) obtained from arthrocentesis. Although it is known that septic arthritis is associated with abnormalities in these tests, the majority of the data are based on studies in the pediatric population. In addition, although several emergency medicine texts indicate that a jWBC greater than 50,000 cells/mm3 is «positive,» it is known that septic arthritis can occur in patients with low jWBCs.
Objectives: To determine whether specific ancillary tests have sufficiently high sensitivities to rule out septic arthritis in adults.
Methods: This was a retrospective consecutive case series of patients from an urban emergency department (ED). Patients at least 18 years old who had septic arthritis confirmed by positive arthrocentesis culture or operative findings were included in the study. WBC greater than 11,000 cells/mm3, ESR greater than 30 mm/hr, and jWBC greater than 50,000 cells/mm3 were considered elevated.
Results: Seventy-three patients met the inclusion criteria. The sensitivities of an elevated WBC, ESR, or jWBC in adults who had septic arthritis were 48%, 96%, and 64%, respectively. There were broad ranges of WBC, ESR, or jWBC among the patients. More than one third of adult patients with septic arthritis had jWBCs less than 50,000 cells/mm3. All patients had an abnormality in at least one of these tests.
Conclusions: The WBC, ESR, and jWBC are extremely variable in adults with septic arthritis. Laboratory tests do not rule out septic arthritis with accuracy.
Academic Emergency Medicine Volume 11, Number 3 276-280,