Septic arthritis in children

B. F. Morrey, A. J. Bianco, K. Hable Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


When septic arthritis involves the hip, the prognosis is much worse than with any other joint. Approximately 50 per cent of the results were unsatisfactory with hip involvement compared to 12 per cent unsatisfactory results with involvement of the other joints. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is a much more helpful diagnostic test than the leukocyte count or differential cell count. The most important prognostic factors are the duration of symptoms prior to treatment, a penicillinase producing organism (penicillin resistant) as the etiologic agent, and evidence of associated metaphyseal osteomyelitis. Early decompression and cleansing of the joint by aspiration or arthrotomy are essential for a good result. Long term parenteral antibiotic therapy improves the prognosis when osteomyelitis is an associated feature. Arthrotomy with continuous irrigation appears to be more effective in decreasing longterm residual effects than arthrotomy alone. Almost all secondary surgical procedures are directed toward correcting the sequelae of septic arthritis of the hip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-934
Number of pages12
JournalOrthopedic Clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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