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Anales de Medicina Interna

Print version ISSN 0212-7199


GOMEZ RODRIGUEZ, N. et al. Peripheal septic arthritis in adults: Epidemiological survey in a Galician health district. An. Med. Interna (Madrid) [online]. 2001, vol.18, n.11, pp.23-27. ISSN 0212-7199.

Background: Both, clinical and biologic manifestations of septic arthritis are long been know, but few studies of its epidemiological aspects are well-documented. Literature concerning epidemiological aspects of septic arthritis remains exceptional in Galician Autonomic Community.  Objective: The aim of this investigation was to study the etiopathogenesis and epidemiological characteristic of septic arthritis in the adult population from hospital county of Servicio Galego de Saúde (SERGAS).  Material and methods: We conducted a retrospective study of all peripheral septic arthritis registered between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 2000 on adult population of our health district of SERGAS (127.000 inhabitants). The location, etiology, pathogenesis and epidemiological characteristics were obtained from medical records.  Results: The case records of 45 patients with 46 septic arthritis (37 native joints and 9 prosthetic joints) were registered. The mean age was 57 years and 24 patients were male. During the study period, the incidence of bacterial arthritis suffered a progressive reduction to 10,2/105 inhabitants (1995) up to 3.1/105 (2000) with a median of 7.2/105. Ten patients (22%), eight male and two women, had a post-traumatic septic arthritis. Major risk factors were diabetes mellitus (5 patients), rheumatoid arthritis (5 patients) and intravenous drug abuse (3 patients). Staphylococcus aureus was the principal causative agent (28 patients, 62%) and the knee was the most commonly affected joint (41%), followed by the hip (15%) and ankle (15%).  Conclusions: During the past six years, the incidence of adult peripheral septic arthritis in our SERGAS health district has been gradually reduced. Trauma was a important factor in the development of septic arthritis through direct inoculation or through spread from adjacent infectious focus. The major systemic factors predisposing to joint infection were rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes mellitus. In both, native and prosthetic joints, Staphylococcus aureus was the most common isolated pathogen.

Keywords : Septic arthritis; Epidemiology; Etiology; Pathogenesis.

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