Vancomycin Concentrations in Synovial Fluid Do Not Reach Chondrotoxic Thresholds After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction With Vancomycin-Soaked Autologous Soft Tissue Grafts: An In Vivo Prospective Observational Study in Humans

Thomas R Pfeiffer, Arne Althoff, Sophia Krombholz, Max Dautert, Jan-Hendrik Naendrup, Daniel Guenther, Bertil Bouillon, Mario Thevis

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Studies have revealed that vancomycin soaking of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) graft can drastically reduce the incidence of postoperative infections after ACL reconstruction. However, it remains unknown whether the chondrotoxic threshold of vancomycin in synovial fluid is exceeded during this process. Several studies investigated the chondrotoxic properties of vancomycin in in vitro experiments and described a concentration of 1000 µg/mL as the critical threshold.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose of the study was to measure the vancomycin concentration in synovial fluid after ACL reconstruction with vancomycin-soaked autografts. It was hypothesized that intra-articular vancomycin concentrations in the synovial fluid would not reach the chondrotoxic threshold of 1000 µg/mL after vancomycin soaking of autologous semitendinosus tendon and soft tissue quadriceps tendon grafts for ACL reconstruction.

STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: The study enrolled 10 patients undergoing ACL reconstruction using 4-strand semitendinosus tendon autografts and 10 patients undergoing ACL reconstruction using soft tissue quadriceps tendon autografts. Before implantation, each harvested graft was intraoperatively wrapped in gauze swabs that had been soaked in a 5-mg/mL vancomycin solution. After wound closure, an aspirate of 5 mL of synovial fluid was taken from each patient. The vancomycin concentration of the aspirate was analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Spearman rho correlation coefficients were used to identify relationships between the parameters, and the t test was used to test for differences between graft types. A P value of <.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: The study included 20 patients (14 women and 6 men; age, 29.35 ± 11.3 years). The mean vancomycin concentration measured in the synovial fluid was 23.23 ± 21.68 µg/mL, with a minimum concentration of 2.32 µg/mL and a maximum concentration of 71.56 µg/mL. No significant difference was found between the 2 graft types (P = .911). Significant positive correlation (r = 0.644; P < .05) was observed only between the vancomycin concentration and the mean duration from initiation of vancomycin soaking of semitendinosus tendon grafts to implantation (13.4 ± 6 minutes). No correlations were observed between the vancomycin concentration and the duration from implantation to fluid aspiration or between the vancomycin concentration and the graft diameter (median, 8.5 mm; range, 6.0-10.0 mm) for both graft types.

CONCLUSION: Chondrotoxic vancomycin concentrations ≥1000 µg/mL were not reached in any aspiration of synovial fluid after ACL reconstruction using soft tissue autografts that were intraoperatively soaked in a 5-mg/mL vancomycin solution. Against the backdrop of multiple studies that showed significantly reduced infection rates after ACL reconstruction when vancomycin soaking was used, this study suggests that the chondrotoxic properties of this method are negligible because of its submarginal intra-articular concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume51
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1715-1720
Number of pages6
ISSN0363-5465
DOIs
Publication statusElectronically/ online published ahead of print - 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Vancomycin Concentrations in Synovial Fluid Do Not Reach Chondrotoxic Thresholds After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction With Vancomycin-Soaked Autologous Soft Tissue Grafts: An In Vivo Prospective Observational Study in Humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Citation