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July 16, 1982

Management of Septic Arthritis

JAMA. 1982;248(3):307-308. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330030021008

To the Editor.—  I initially read with interest the article by Ho and Su entitled "Therapy for Septic Arthritis" (1982;247:797). It is apparent that the title of this article is deceiving. There is little or no information about specific therapy, but, rather, a brief analysis of prognostic factors related to outcome.The authors of this article conclude that the time to sterilize the synovial fluid correlates with outcome of therapy. They arrive at this conclusion based on the results of serial synovial fluid cultures in only 13 patients. Although the authors make the statement that they have tried "to minimize the number of variables that may skew interpretation of the data," they have, in fact, selected a biased sample from which to make conclusions.It is well known that patients with underlying joint disease (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis) and septic arthritis have a poorer outcome than those with infection without underlying