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PURPOSE: Fracture-related infection (FRI) is a serious complication in orthopedic trauma surgery worldwide. Especially, the distinction of infection from sterile inflammation and the detection of low-grade infection are highly challenging. The objective of the present study was to obtain proof-of-principle for the use of bacteria-targeted fluorescence imaging to detect FRI on extracted osteosynthesis devices as a step-up towards real-time image-guided trauma surgery.

METHODS: Extracted osteosynthesis devices from 13 patients, who needed revision surgery after fracture treatment, were incubated with a near-infrared fluorescent tracer composed of the antibiotic vancomycin and the fluorophore IRDye800CW (i.e., vanco-800CW). Subsequently, the devices were imaged, and vanco-800CW fluorescence signals were correlated to the results of microbiological culturing and to bacterial growth upon replica plating of the imaged devices on blood agar.

RESULTS: Importantly, compared to culturing, the bacteria-targeted fluorescence imaging of extracted osteosynthesis devices with vanco-800CW allows for a prompt diagnosis of FRI, reducing the time-to-result from days to less than 30 min. Moreover, bacteria-targeted imaging can provide surgeons with real-time visual information on the presence and extent of infection.

CONCLUSION: Here, we present the first clinical application of fluorescence imaging for the detection of FRI. We conclude that imaging with vanco-800CW can provide early, accurate, and real-time visual diagnostic information on FRI in the clinical setting, even in the case of low-grade infections.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 26-jan-2022

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