The diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection is sometimes straightforward with purulent discharge from the fistula tract communicating to the joint prosthesis. However it is often difficult to differentiate septic from aseptic loosening of prosthesis because of the high culture-negative rates in conventional microbiologic culture. This study used quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) to amplify bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA in vitro and in 11 clinical samples. The in vitro analysis demonstrated that the RT-qPCR method was highly sensitive with the detection limit of bacterial 16S rRNA being 0.148 pg/l. Clinical specimens were analyzed using the same protocol. The RT-qPCR was positive for bacterial detection in 8 culture-positive cases (including aerobic, anaerobic, and mycobacteria) and 2 culture-negative cases. It was negative in one case that the final diagnosis was confirmed without infection. The molecular diagnosis of bacterial infection using RT-qPCR to detect bacterial 16S rRNA around a prosthesis correlated well with the clinical findings. Based on the promising clinical results, we were attempting to differentiate bacterial species or drug-resistant strains by using species-specific primers and to detect the persistence of bacteria during the interim period before the second stage reimplantation in a larger scale of clinical subjects. © 2013 Mel S. Lee et al.
Lee, M. S., Chang, W. H., Chen, S. C., Hsieh, P. H., Shih, H. N., Ueng, S. W. N., & Lee, G. B. (2013). Molecular diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection by quantitative RT-PCR of bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA. The Scientific World Journal, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/950548