Testing & Diagnosis for Septic (Infectious) Arthritis in Children

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How does a doctor know my child has septic arthritis?

Prompt diagnosis of septic arthritis is necessary to prevent permanent damage to the joint.

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for septic arthritis may include

•   Removal of joint fluid - to examine for white blood cells and bacteria
•   Blood tests - to detect bacteria
•   Phlegm, spinal fluid, and urine tests - to detect bacteria and find the source of infection
•   X-ray - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues,
    bones, and organs onto film
•   Bone scan - a nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to
    detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation
•   Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio
    frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
•   Radionuclide scans - nuclear scans of various organs to determine blood flow to the organs.

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