Fungal arthritis treatment is geared towards curing the infection. The first course of treatment most often begins with an anti-fungal medication. If the medication is ineffective, further treatments may be necessary. If the infection responsible for this type of arthritis is not diagnosed and treated promptly, joint damage may occur. The patient’s overall health and the underlying cause of the infection will determine the patient’s overall prognosis.
Common brand names include Fungizone and Amphocin. This ant-fungal medication is only used when the infection is severe and potentially fatal. This medication treats infections by stopping the growth of fungi. This medication is slowly injected into a vein. One to three hours after infusion begins, patients may experience fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, shortness of breath, shaking, flushing, dizziness, vomiting, headache, or fast breathing.
Commonly prescribed azole antifungals include fluconazole, posaconazole, itraconazole, and voriconazole. This type of antifungal medication blocks the synthesis of ergosterol. Ergosterol is an essential part of a fungal cells’ membrane. This type of antifungal is typically administered orally. Common side effects include skin rash and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Debridement is a procedure that may be used in cases of advanced or chronic joint or bone infection. It involves removing all infected tissue. As the infected tissue is removed, healing begins. This process can be done by chemical autolytic, surgical, or mechanical tissue removal. This is a surgical procedure and anesthesia is used in almost all cases. Possible complications may include pain, infection, delayed healing, bleeding, and, with mechanical debridement, removal of healthy tissue.
Before fungal arthritis treatment can begin, the condition has to first be diagnosed. There are several diagnostic tests that can be done to help diagnose this type of arthritis. The doctor will begin by examining the patient, paying special attention to the affected joints. The doctor may then order a positive antibody test to look for a fungal disease.
A joint x-ray may be performed to get a better look at the joint. An x-ray can show changes in the joint. It will also help doctors assess the degree of joint damage.
A joint fluid culture will grow fungus if this type of arthritis is present. To get a sample of joint fluid, a needle is used. A doctor will use a needle to draw a sample of fluid. This may be done during a surgical procedure or in the patient’s doctor’s office.
If this type of arthritis is present, a synovial biopsy will show fungus. This test involves removing a piece of a joint’s tissue lining and then sending it to a laboratory for analysis.
MedlinePlus. (2009). Fungal Arthritis. Retrieved on November 21, 2010 from MedlinePlus: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000444.htm
University of Maryland Medical Center. (2006). Fungal Arthritis Overview. Retrieved on November 21, 2010 from the University of Maryland Medical Center: https://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000444.htm