First guidelines issued for prosthetic joint infection treatment

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Multidisciplinary teams should be used to lower disability and death rates caused by prosthetic joint infections, authors of the first set of guidelines about them say. Their report, released Friday in Clinical Infections Diseases, says doctors should work together to determine best treatment options.

 

One million new knees and hips are transplanted each year. Up to 2% of those patients will get an infection in the new joint. The number of patients undergoing the transplants, and acquiring infections, is expected to rise, perhaps dramatically, in the next two decades.

Collaboration between medical professionals is seen as the answer to treating and preventing the infections. The implanted joints, which include shoulders and elbows, can become infected years after the surgery. Most infections require long courses of antibiotics and surgery.

Multidisciplinary teams should include an orthopedist and an infectious diseases specialist, and other specialists as needed, the guidelines say. They also detail methods for diagnosis of prosthetic joint infections, which can be particularly difficult to identify.