Treatment of enterococcal periprosthetic joint infections (PJI) is challenging due to non-standardized management strategies and lack of biofilm-active antibiotics. The optimal surgical and antimicrobial therapy are unknown. Therefore, we evaluated characteristics and outcome of enterococcal PJI.
Consecutive patients with enterococcal PJI from two specialized orthopedic institutions were retrospectively analyzed. Both institutions are following the same diagnostic and treatment concepts. The probability of relapse-free survival was estimated using Kaplan-Meier survival curves and compared by log-rank test. Treatment success was defined by absence of relapse or persistence of PJI due to enterococci or death related to enterococcal PJI. Clinical success was defined by the infection-free status, no subsequent surgical intervention for persistent or perioperative infection after re-implantation and no PJI-related death within 3 months.
Included were 75 enterococcal PJI episodes, involving 41 hip, 30 knee, 2 elbow and 2 shoulder prostheses. PJI occurred postoperatively in 61 episodes (81%), hematogenously in 13 (17%) and by contiguous spread in one. E. faecalis grew in 64 episodes, E. faecium in 10 and E. casseliflavus in one episode(s). Additional microorganism(s) were isolated in 38 patients (51%). Enterococci were susceptible to vancomycin in 73 of 75 isolates (97%), to daptomycin in all 75 isolates, and to fosfomycin in 21 of 22 isolates (96%). The outcome data was available for 66 patients (88%). The treatment success after 3 years was 83.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]; 76.1-96.7%) and the clinical success was 67.5% (95% CI; 57.3-80.8%). In 11 patients (17%), a new PJI episode caused by a different pathogen occurred. All failures occurred within 3 years after surgery.
About half of enterococcal PJI were polymicrobial infections. The treatment success was high (84%). All treatment failures occurred within the first 3 years after revision surgery. Interestingly, 17% of patients experienced a new PJI caused by another pathogen at a later stage.