OBJECTIVE: To describe the incidence, risk factors and long-term outcomes in children hospitalised with septic arthritis (SA) in Western Australia (WA).
METHODS: We extracted state-wide longitudinally linked administrative health data for patients aged <16 years with a first diagnostic code of 711.X (ICD9-CM) and M00.X (ICD10-AM) in WA in the period 1990-2010. Annual incidence rates (AIR) per 100,000 with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), prior conditions during a median lookback period of 63.2 [interquartile range (IQR) 19.8-117.1] months and outcomes, including standardised mortality rates (SMR), during a median follow-up of 10 years are reported.
RESULTS: A total of 891 patients [62% male, median age 6.4 (IQR 1.9-10.6) years with 34% aged 0: 34.6 vs. 27.2%, p = 0.02), including diabetes (4.2 vs. 0%; p = 0.001), cardiovascular events (4.2 vs 1.4%, p = 0.002) and chronic arthritis (1 vs. 0%, p = 0.05). The crude mortality rate was low (0.3%), with 99.4% survival at 180 months and no increase in the SMR.
CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of SA in children in WA did not change over the 20-year observation period. SA did not lead to excess mortality, but bone and joint complications developed in 5% of patients. The high propensity to comorbid conditions in this young cohort suggests an underlying role of comorbidity in SA development.