Screening for and decolonization of Staphylococcus aureus carriers before total joint replacement is associated with lower S aureus prosthetic joint infection rates
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BACKGROUND: Prosthetic joint infections (PJI) can be devastating postoperative complications after total joint replacement (TJR). The role of decolonization of Staphylococcus aureus carriers prior to surgery still remains unclear, and the most recent guidelines do not state a formal recommendation for such strategy. Our purpose was to seek further evidence supporting preoperative screening and S aureus decolonization in patients undergoing TJR. METHODS: This was a quasiexperimental quality improvement study comparing a 5-year baseline of deep and organ-space PJIs (2005- 2010) to a 1-year intervention period (May 2015 to July 2016). The intervention consisted of nasal and throat screening for S aureus preoperatively and decolonization of carriers over 5 days prior to surgery. RESULTS: Prior to the intervention, we identified 42 deep and/or organ-space PJIs in 8,505 patients undergoing TJR (0.5%). S aureus was the causal microorganism in 28 of 42 (66.6%) cases. During the intervention, 22.5% (424 of 1,883) of patients were S aureus carriers. The PJI rate was similar overall (0.4%, 7 of 1,883; odds ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.34-1.67; P = .58), but there was a significant reduction in S aureus PJI to only 1 case during the intervention (odds ratio, 0.15; 95% confidence interval, 0.004-0.94; P = .039). CONCLUSIONS: Active screening for S aureus and decolonization of carriers prior to TJR was associated with a reduction in PJI due to S aureus, but no changes in overall PJI rates were observed.