Are patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis at increased risk for joint infections?
Unfortunately, yes. Joint infections tend to occur in damaged joints, and RA patients have many of these. Patients are also at increased risk secondary to immunosuppressive medication. Any time an RA patient presents with one or two joints that are swollen, red, and hot, out of proportion to the other joints, the clinician should suspect infection. In addition, following joint replacement surgeries, an infected artificial joint is a constant concern. The most common infecting organism is Staphylococcus aureus, although coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species may cause indolent joint infections and should be considered in postoperative patients with inflammatory joint findings in the operated-upon joint.