D-lactic acid is a specific marker produced almost exclusively by bacterial species; thus, the appearance of this marker in synovial fluid may indicate periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). Recently, studies have investigated the accuracy of enzyme-linked laboratory tests that detect D-lactic acid in synovial fluid to diagnose PJI. However, to our knowledge, no studies have determined the usefulness of rapid strip tests that detect D-lactic acid in synovial fluid in the diagnosis of PJI.
(1) What is the best cutoff value for the rapid D-lactic acid strip test for diagnosing PJI? (2) What are the diagnostic accuracies (sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value [PPV], and negative predictive value [NPV]) of the rapid D-lactic acid strip test and two different rapid leukocyte esterase (LE) strip tests?
This prospective study enrolled 157 patients who underwent revision THA or TKA from May 2021 to February 2022 at a single orthopaedic center. Seventy percent (110 of 157) were eligible for analysis; 10% of these patients (15 of 157) were excluded based on the exclusion criteria (causes of revisions and additional comorbidities that may interfere with the results), and 20% (32 of 157) of the synovial fluid samples could not be tested (dry taps and blood-contaminated samples that could not be centrifuged). We performed the following off-label diagnostic tests on synovial fluid samples collected from all patients: the D-lactic acid strip test (QuantiQuickTM, BioAssay System), two different LE strip tests (10 EA from ARKRAY and BM 10 from BioMaxima). Differently colored strips were marked with symbols (from [-] to [++++] for D-lactic acid and from [-] to [+++] for LE tests) according to the manufacturers’ instructions. For the LE tests, results were different for (++), which corresponds to a minimal value of 250 leu/mL for 10 EA and 125 leu/mL for BM 10 tests. The diagnostic standard for the presence or absence of PJI in this study was the International Consensus Meeting (ICM) 2018 criteria; based on these criteria (without the application of an LE test as a minor criterion), all patients were assessed and divided into two groups. Patients who did not meet the criteria for PJI and underwent revision for aseptic loosening, implant malposition, instability, or implant damage were included in the aseptic revision total joint arthroplasty group (68 patients). Patients with a fistula penetrating the joint, those with two positive culture results of the same pathogen, or those with ≥ 6 points according to ICM 2018 minor criteria were enrolled in the PJI group (42 patients). To ascertain the best cutoff value for the rapid D-lactic acid and both LE strip tests for diagnosing PJI, we used collected results, generated a receiver operating characteristic curve, and calculated the Youden index. To determine the accuracies of the diagnostic tests, we calculated their sensitivities, specificities, PPVs, and NPVs against the diagnostic standard (the ICM 2018 criteria).
The best cutoff value for D-lactic acid was 22.5 mg/L, which corresponded to a reading of (+) on the test strip. For D-lactic acid, in the diagnosis of PJI, the sensitivity was 83% (95% confidence interval [CI] 68% to 92%) and specificity was 100% (95% CI 93% to 100%). For both LE strip tests, the best cutoff value was the same as that proposed in the ICM 2018 criteria. For LE (10 EA), the sensitivity was 81% (95% CI 66% to 91%) and specificity was 99% (95% CI 91% to 100%); for LE (BM 10), sensitivity was 81% (95% CI 65% to 91%) and specificity was 97% (95% CI 89% to 100%).
A rapid off-label D-lactic acid strip test is valuable for diagnosing PJI. The results of this study indicate very good accuracy with comparable sensitivity and specificity for both LE strip tests. The usefulness of the test in a group of patients with chronic inflammatory diseases and the reproducibility of the reading by different researchers were not analyzed in this study and require further investigations. Before a rapid D-lactic strip test is routinely used for diagnosing PJI, multicenter studies on a larger group of patients should be conducted.
Level of Evidence Level II, diagnostic study.