2020 French recommendations on the management of septic arthritis in an adult native joint

Septic arthritis (SA) in an adult native joint is a rare condition but a diagnostic emergency due to the morbidity and mortality and the functional risk related to structural damage. Current management varies and the recommendations available are dated. The French Rheumatology Society (SFR) Bone and Joint Infection Working Group, together with the French Language Infectious Diseases Society (SPILF) and the French Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery Society (SOFCOT) have worked according to the HAS methodology to devise clinical practice recommendations to diagnose and treat SA in an adult native joint. One new focus is on the importance of microbiological documentation (blood cultures and joint aspiration) before starting antibiotic treatment, looking for differential diagnoses (microcrystal detection), the relevance of a joint ultrasound to guide aspiration, and the indication to perform a reference X-ray. A cardiac ultrasound is indicated only in cases of SA involving Staphylococcus aureus, oral streptococci, Streptococcus gallolyticus or Enterococcus faecalis, or when infective endocarditis is clinically suspected. Regarding treatment, we stress the importance of medical and surgical collaboration. Antibiotic therapies (drugs and durations) are presented in the form of didactic tables according to the main bacteria in question (staphylococci, streptococci and gram-negative rods). Probabilistic antibiotic therapy should only be used for patients with serious symptoms. Lastly, non-drug treatments such as joint drainage and early physical therapy are the subject of specific recommendations.