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Leukocyte Esterase as a Biomarker in the Diagnosis of Periprosthetic Joint Infection

Chi Wang, Rui Li, Qi Wang, Jinyan Duan, Chengbin Wang

(Department of Clinical Laboratory, PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:353-358

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.899368

BACKGROUND: Total joint arthroplasty (TJA) has been one of the most rewarding interventions for treating patients suffering from joint disorders. However, periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a serious complication that frequently accompanies TJA. Our study aimed to investigate the application of the leukocyte esterase (LE) strip in the diagnosis of PJI.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: From October 2014 to July 2015, 72 patients who had undergone joint puncture after arthroplasty in our hospital were enrolled in this trial. One drop of synovial fluid from each available patient was applied to the LE strip, and the results were observed after 1–3 min. If the color turned to dark purple, we recognized this as a positive result, while other colors were regarded as negative results. Centrifugation was used when the synovial fluid was mixed with blood. The Musculoskeletal Infection Society (MSIS) definition was used as the standard reference to identify whether PJI was found in patients or not. The results of diagnosis and LE strips test were compared, and indicators reflecting diagnostic value were calculated. Correlation of the LE data with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), elevated C-reactive protein (CRP), synovial white blood cell (WBC) counts, and polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) percentage was calculated.
RESULTS: By MSIS criteria, 38 patients were diagnosed with PJI and 34 patients were not infected. Two types of LE strip presented the same results with sensitivity of 84.21% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 68.75~93.98%), specificity of 97.06% (95% CI: 84.67~99.93%), positive predictive value (PPV) of 96.97% (95% CI: 84.24~99.92%), and negative predictive value (NPV) of 84.62% (95% CI: 69.47~94.14%). There were one false-positive case and six false-negative cases in this trial. There is a strong correlation between LE strip and synovial fluid PMN percentage.
CONCLUSIONS: The sensitivity and specificity of the LE strip in the diagnosis of PJI are quite high, which means the LE strip might be used as an alternative to diagnose PJI in clinical practice.

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