BackgroundThe lack of agreement regarding what constitutes successful treatment for periprosthetic joint infections (PJI) makes it difficult to compare the different strategies of management that are used in clinical practice and in research studies.
Questions/purposesThe aims of this study were to create a consensus definition for success after PJI treatment, and to provide a universal, multidimensional framework for reporting of studies regarding PJI treatment.
MethodsA two-round basic Delphi method was used to reach a consensus definition. We invited 159 international experts (orthopaedic surgeons, infectious disease specialists, and clinical researchers) from 17 countries to participate; 59 participated in the first round, and 42 participated in the second round. The final definition consisted of all statements that achieved strong agreement (80% or greater of participants considering a criterion relevant for defining success).
ResultsThe consensus definition of a successfully treated PJI is: (1) infection eradication, characterized by a healed wound without fistula, drainage, or pain, and no infection recurrence caused by the same organism strain; (2) no subsequent surgical intervention for infection after reimplantation surgery; and (3) no occurrence of PJI-related mortality (by causes such as sepsis, necrotizing fasciitis). The Delphi panel agreed to defining midterm results as those reported 5 or more years after the definitive PJI surgery, and long-term results as those reported 10 or more years after surgery. Although no consensus was reached on the definition of short-term results, 71% of the participants agreed that 2 years after the definitive PJI surgery is acceptable to define it.
ConclusionsThis multidimensional definition of success after PJI treatment may be used to report and compare results of treatment of this catastrophic complication.
Level of evidenceLevel V, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.