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National periprosthetic joint infection sampling and culture guide

Joint replacements greatly improve quality of life. While subsequent prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is uncommon it can have a significant impact for the patient.

The accurate diagnosis of PJI is essential to ensure the best antibiotic treatment and surgical management of the patient. Because a significant proportion of PJIs are caused by common skin organisms, multiple samples are needed to allow reliable interpretation of culture results.

This sampling and culture guide provides advice on:

  • the type of samples to collect
  • the number of samples to collect
  • sample collection
  • timing of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis with respect to tissue sampling
  • culture approaches
  • relevance of Propionibacterium acnes for shoulder PJI.

The guide should improve the consistency of approach to diagnosing prosthetic joint infections.