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Journal of Bone and Joint Infection An open-access journal of the European Bone and Joint Infection Society and the MusculoSkeletal Infection Society
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Volume 3, issue 4
J. Bone Joint Infect., 3, 173–181, 2018
https://doi.org/10.7150/jbji.27840
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
J. Bone Joint Infect., 3, 173–181, 2018
https://doi.org/10.7150/jbji.27840
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Original full-length article 10 Aug 2018

Original full-length article | 10 Aug 2018

Accuracy of Tissue and Sonication Fluid Sampling for the Diagnosis of Fracture-Related Infection: A Systematic Review and Critical Appraisal

Jolien Onsea1, Melissa Depypere2, Geertje Govaert3, Richard Kuehl4, Thomas Vandendriessche5, Mario Morgenstern6, Martin McNally7, Andrej Trampuz8, and Willem-Jan Metsemakers1 Jolien Onsea et al.
  • 1Department of Trauma Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium
  • 3Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 4Department of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland
  • 5KU Leuven Libraries - 2Bergen - Learning Centre Désiré Collen, Leuven, Belgium
  • 6Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland
  • 7The Bone Infection Unit, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford University Hospitals, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 8Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery

Keywords: Fracture-related infection, histopathology, sonication, tissue sampling, diagnosis, systematic review

Abstract. Introduction: Intraoperatively obtained peri-implant tissue cultures remain the standard for diagnosis of fracture-related infection (FRI), although culture-negative cases may complicate treatment decisions. This paper reviews the evidence on sonication fluid and tissue sampling for the diagnosis of FRI.

Methods: A comprehensive search in Pubmed, Embase and Web-of-Science was carried out on April 5, 2018, to identify diagnostic validation studies regarding sonication fluid and tissue sampling for FRI.

Results: Out of 2624 studies, nine fulfilled the predefined inclusion criteria. Five studies focused on sonication fluid culture, two on PCR and two on histopathology. One additional histopathology study was found after screening of reference lists. There is limited evidence that sonication fluid culture may be a useful adjunct to conventional tissue culture, but no strong evidence that it is superior or can replace tissue culture. Regarding molecular techniques and histopathology the evidence is even less clear. Overall, studies had variable 'gold standard' criteria for comparison and poorly reported culture methods.

Conclusions: Scientific evidence on sonication fluid and tissue sampling, including culture, molecular techniques and histopathology for the diagnosis of FRI is scarce. It is imperative that laboratory protocols become standardized and uniform diagnostic criteria, as recently published in a consensus definition, be implemented.

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