BACKGROUND: Acute septic arthritis (SA) still remains a challenge with significant worldwide morbidity. In recent years, Kingella kingae has emerged and treatment regimens have become shorter. We aim to analyze trends in SA etiology and management and to identify risk factors for complications.
METHODS: Longitudinal observational, single center study of children (<18 years old) with SA admitted to a tertiary care pediatric hospital, from 2003 to 2018, in 2 cohorts, before and after implementation of nucleic acid amplification assays (2014). Clinical, treatment and disease progression data were obtained.
RESULTS: A total of 247 children were identified, with an average annual incidence of 24.9/100,000, 57.9% males with a median age of 2 (1-6) years. In the last 5 years, a 1.7-fold increase in the annual incidence, a lower median age at diagnosis and an improved microbiologic yield (49%) was noticed. K. kingae became the most frequent bacteria (51.9%) followed by MSSA (19.2%) and S. pyogenes (9.6%). Children were more often treated for fewer intravenous days (10.7 vs. 13.2 days, P = 0.01) but had more complications (20.6% vs. 11.4%, P = 0.049) with a similar sequelae rate (3.7%). Risk factors for complications were C-reactive protein ≥80 mg/L and Staphylococcus aureus infection, and for sequelae at 6 months, age ≥4 years and CRP ≥ 80 mg/L.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study confirms that K. kingae was the most common causative organism of acute SA. There was a trend, although small, for decreasing antibiotic duration. Older children with high inflammatory parameters might be at higher risk of sequelae.