Arthritis is basically inflammation of the joints which may or may not be accompanied by an infection. There are cases wherein the joints in an arthritic patient are directly invaded by bacteria causing infection. The scenario worsens when the case is polyarticular or involves multiple joints. The patient not only experiences pain but the risks and complications associated with sepsis. The mortality of the disease is considerably high therefore it requires immediate and prompt medical and surgical attention.
Causes And Symptoms Of Infectious Arthritis
Septic arthritis is referred to as an invasion of the joint by an infectious agent.Polyarticular type of septic arthritis refers to infectious involvement of multiple joints.
This disease is considered a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. The danger of this disease is the risk of the infection spreading towards other parts of the body, not just the joints.
Causes of polyarticular septic arthritis include
- Spread of infection via the bloodstream from wound infections or abscesses in other parts of the body.
- Spreading of infection from acute osteomyelitis focus
- Spread of infection from an adjacent infection of the soft tissue
- Entry of the pathogen through a penetrating trauma or injury
- Entry of bacteria through iatrogenic or unknown means.
- The most common type of bacteria or causative agent includes Staph. Aureus, Streptococci, H. influenzae, N. gonorrhea, E. coli, M. tuberculosis, Salmonella, and Brucella among others.
Polyarticular Septic Arthritis Symptoms
- Swollen joints
- Pain with active or passive movement
- Increased leukocyte levels
- Increased sedimentation rate
- Involvement of knee is up to 50 percent cent, the other areas commonly affected are wrist, hips, and ankles.
- With fever and chill, there is rise in white blood cell count and raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
Treatment Of Polyarticular Septic Arthritis
- Initial therapy involves rigorous antibiotic treatment while awaiting culture results.
- Drainage of the infected joints may be necessitated using needle aspiration.
- If needle aspiration is not possible such as in hip, shoulder, as well as sacroiliac joints, open arthrotomy may be ordered.
- Early surgical intervention is necessary for patients suffering from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis etc.
- Prosthetic joints are at risk for infection and require prosthetic joint removal especially in major cases. Prosthetic material combined with the cement is an ideal environment for the growth of the bacteria. Its removal and replacement with a new prosthetic joint with antibiotic treatment gives a high success rate.