Overwhelming septic infection with a multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) after total knee replacement
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- Roth, A., Fuhrmann, R., Lange, M. et al. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg (2003) 123: 429. doi:10.1007/s00402-003-0535-7
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The incidence of early deep infection after arthroplasty of the knee is very low but could represent a serious future problem.
Material and methods
The authors report on a 71-year-old woman with gonarthritis who was supplied with a total knee endoprosthesis and developed a local infection followed by septic shock.
The infection was evidently caused by a multiresistant Staphylococcus aureus (Staph. aureus). The primary clinical signs closely resembled a necrotizing fasciitis. Systemic and local application of vancomycin led to an improvement of the symptoms at secondary sites, but only the amputation of the primarily infected leg was lifesaving.
In order to prevent such events, the authors recommend a number of additional presurgical measures. Firstly, a swab from the nose and throat should be taken prior to an elective surgery in patients with elevated risk of immunodeficiency, for example in patients with diabetes. The diabetes should be adequately treated before an elective operation is undertaken. Secondly, an early punction of the knee joint should be carried out if there is any doubt regarding inflammation. Isolated infectious agents should be grounds for early revision, which should always be completed with a rinsing procedure and with adequate antibiotics. Immunotherapy should be taken into consideration. Antiepidemic measures are recommended in cases with known Staph. aureus.