Septic Arthritis of the Glenohumeral Joint: A Review of 23 Cases


Infection of the glenohumeral joint is an uncommon yet devastating condition. The objective of this study was to review the incidence, risk factors, presentation, and treatment for this disorder. Twenty-three culture-positive cases of septic arthritis of the glenohumeral joint were identified and treated at the authors’ institution between 1986 and 2000. Eighty-seven percent of patients had at least one serious systemic illness, and on average had two. Fifty-two percent had a different primary site of  infection identified. Staphylococcus aureus was identified as the infectious organism in 70% of cases, 17% of which were found to be methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Patients admitted to the orthopedic service were more likely to undergo surgical treatment. Patients treated surgically had shorter hospital stays than those treated with serial aspirations alone. Shoulder infections affect patients who are older and have multiple systemic diseases. Surgical treatment of shoulder infections, when compared to aspiration alone, is associated with a shorter hospital stay. Glenohumeral infection is a debilitating affliction even when control of the infection can be achieved. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 14(2):102–107, 2005)

SKU: JSOA-2005-14-2-SU10 Categories: , Tags: , ,

Edmond Cleeman, MD,1 Joshua D. Auerbach, MD, Gregory G. Klingenstein, BA,
Evan L. Flatow, MD