Diagnosis of bone and joint infections (BJI) relies on microbiological culture which has a long turnaround time and is challenging for certain bacterial species. Rapid molecular methods may alleviate these obstacles. Here, we investigate the diagnostic performance of IS-pro, a broad-scope molecular technique that can detect and identify most bacteria to the species level. IS-pro additionally informs on the amount of human DNA present in a sample, as a measure of leukocyte levels. This test can be performed in 4 h with standard laboratory equipment. Residual material of 591 synovial fluid samples derived from native and prosthetic joints from patients suspected of joint infections that were sent for routine diagnostics was collected and subjected to the IS-pro test. Bacterial species identification as well as bacterial load and human DNA load outcomes of IS-pro were compared to those of culture. At sample level, percent positive agreement (PPA) between IS-pro and culture was 90.6% (95% CI 85.7- to 94%) and negative percent agreement (NPA) was 87.7% (95% CI 84.1 to 90.6%). At species level PPA was 80% (95% CI 74.3 to 84.7%). IS-pro yielded 83 extra bacterial detections over culture for which we found supporting evidence for true positivity in 40% of the extra detections. Missed detections by IS-pro were mostly related to common skin species in low abundance. Bacterial and human DNA signals measured by IS-pro were comparable to bacterial loads and leukocyte counts reported by routine diagnostics. We conclude that IS-pro showed an excellent performance for fast diagnostics of bacterial BJI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0015423
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023


  • IS-pro
  • bacteria
  • joint infections
  • rapid diagnostics

Cite this