Health Questions and Answers

Question: Which studies should generally be performed on synovial fluid after arthrocentesis?

Answer:

Gram stain and bacterial culture may confirm the presence of an infective agent. In the right clinical setting, similar procedures for mycobacteria or fungi are important. A white blood cell (WBC) count with differential is one of the best indicators of the degree of inflammation. Evaluation for crystals by polarized light microscopy may confirm the diagnosis. Although a good deal has been written about various other tests (e.g., glucose, complement, rheumatoid factor, ANA, lactate dehydrogenase, protein), they add little diagnostic information.

Reference:  Harris ED, Budd RC, Firestein GS, et al (eds): Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology, 7th ed. Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 2005

Leave a Reply