Characteristics of septic arthritis in human immunodeficiency virus- infected haemophiliacs versus other risk groups
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The cases are presented of four haemophiliacs infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and with septic arthritis among the 340 patients followed at our centre. The data of these cases and 39 additional HIV-infected haemophiliacs with septic arthritis, identified in a literature search, are reviewed. The spectrum of bacterial pathogens is limited and somewhat different from that in other risk groups. The localization is exclusively to joints affected by haemophilic arthropathy. The laboratory picture is characterized by the absence of peripheral leucocytosis, varying CD4-helper cell counts, a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate and fever. The clinical picture mimics that of haemarthrosis, often causing a delay in diagnosis. Treatment with systemic antibiotics is often sufficient, obviating the need for arthrotomy and open drainage. Prognosis related to the joint function is relatively good, but poor when related to the medium- to long-term survival of the patient.
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