Concomitant septic and gouty arthritis--an analysis of 30 cases
British Journal of Rheumatology
Objectives. To analyse the clinical features and outcomes of gouty patients with concomitant septic arthritis in a medical centre. Methods. From the hospital database, we collected 30 hospitalized cases with concomitant septic arthritis and gouty arthritis from 1987 to 2001. All patients had positive bacterial culture and monosodium urate crystals in the affected joints. Medical records of the patients were analysed in detail. Results. The mean age of patients was 52.8"12.5 yr. One-third of
... ents were afebrile at presentation, 30% had a normal blood leucocyte count and 10% had a synovial fluid leucocyte count less than 6000umm 3 . The knee joint was the most common site of involvement, followed by the ankle, shoulder and wrist joints. Most patients had long-standing disease and subcutaneous tophi. Subcutaneous tophi rupture with secondary wound infection is the most common route of infection. Causative micro-organisms were Staphylococcus aureus (16 cases, 7 of whom were oxacillin-resistant), Streptococcus sp. (5 cases), Pediococcus sp. (1 case), and Gram-negative bacilli (9 cases). Fourteen patients received surgical debridement, among them two patients had an arthrodesis owing to severe joint destruction and one received above-knee amputation. Two patients died. One died of septic complications and the other died of acute myocardial infarction. Conclusions. Septic arthritis coexistent with gout presented a diagnostic difficulty. An early diagnosis requires a high level of suspicion. Prompt aspiration and analysis of the synovial fluid is imperative, regardless of the absence of fever or leucocytosis. Culture of the aspirated synovial fluid is warranted in gouty attack, even when it has a low white cell count or the Gram stain reveals no organisms.