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Septic Arthritis.

Q A friend of mine was recently told that she has septic arthritis. Can you tell me more about this condition?

ASeptic arthritis develops from an infection in the body that travels to a joint through the bloodstream. One common culprit Is the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which is present even on healthy skin and may enter the body through a wound. Another common cause is a urinary tract infection. Although they don't cause septic arthritis, several risk factors--including a suppressed immune system due to illness or medications, and other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and liver disease--make it more likely to develop. Artificial joints and recent joint surgery or arthrocentesis (inserting needles Into the joint) are also risk factors for septic arthritis.

Unfortunately older adults are more susceptible to septic arthritis--about half of all cases occur In people age 60 and older. In these patients, 75 percent of the infections occur In joints that have already been affected by arthritis, especially the hips, knees, and shoulders. Septic arthritis can cause a joint to degenerate, so it is important to diagnose the condition as early as possible. Outcomes are usually good with prompt treatment, which typically includes a course of antibiotics. In some cases, fluid may need to be drained from the affected joint in order to prevent joint damage, and ease pain and swelling.

Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, PhD

Geriatric Medicine

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Title Annotation:ASK THE EXPERTS
Author:Leipzig, Rosanne M.
Publication:Focus on Healthy Aging
Date:Nov 1, 2018
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