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Mayo Clinic researchers discover new diagnostic test for detecting infection in prosthetic joints
Date:8/15/2007

geries are performed each year in the United States. This number is expected to increase to 2.5 million by 2030, according to a March 2006 presentation at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

According to Dr. Patel, individuals with prosthetic joints may not know that they have an infection.

When people think of infection, they may think of fever or pus coming out of a wound, explains Dr. Patel. However, this is not the case with prosthetic joint infection. Patients will often experience pain, but not other symptoms usually associated with infection. Often what happens is that the bacteria that cause infection on prosthetic joints are the same as bacteria that live harmlessly on our skin. However, on a prosthetic joint they can stick, grow and cause problems over the long term. Many of these bacteria would not infect the joint were it not for the prosthesis.

Micro-organisms associated with prosthetic joint infection are found in biofilms, which are colonies of bacteria that adhere to the prosthesis surface. Researchers initiated the study with the hypothesis that methods that sample the prosthesis surface should improve the diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection.

The new test involves surgeons removing the prosthetic joint as they normally would, placing it in a special container, and sending it to the laboratory. In the laboratory, a solution is added to the container and then the container is subjected to a combination of vortexing (shaking) and sonication (exposure to ultrasound) which has been shown to remove biofilm bacteria. Then, the bacteria, which are in the solution, are quantitatively cultured.

If you look at the study, youll see we found a wide variety of different types of bacteria, says Dr. Patel. This is important to recognize, because it is ideal for the doctors to know what type of infection they are dealing with in order to treat it properly -- this determines what type of antibiotic to give,
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Contact: Amy Tieder
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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