Objective: To evaluate the outcomes of arthrocentesis with the new highly controllable, one handed reciprocating procedure syringe compared with a conventional syringe.
Methods: 100 arthrocentesis procedures were randomised between the reciprocating syringe and the conventional syringe. Outcome measures included patient pain, procedure duration, operator satisfaction, synovial fluid volume, cell counts, and complications.
Results: 50 arthrocentesis procedures with the conventional syringe resulted in a mean (SD) procedure time of 3.39 (1.88) minutes, a mean VAPS (patient pain) score of 5.35 (3.15), and a mean VASS (operator satisfaction) score of 4.88 (1.92); 30 of the 50 subjects experienced moderate to severe pain (VAPS score 5 or greater) during arthrocentesis. In contrast, the reciprocating syringe resulted in a reduced procedure time of 1.94 (1.14) minutes (p<0.001), a reduced VAPS (patient pain) score of 2.54 (1.60) (p<0.001), and an increased VASS (operator satisfaction) score of 8.91 (0.79) (p<0.001). Only five of the 50 of subjects experienced moderate to severe pain with the reciprocating syringe. Synovial cell counts were similar between the two syringes (p>0.05), but there was a trend toward greater volume (greater synovial fluid yield) and fewer red blood cells with the reciprocating syringe.
Conclusions: Arthrocentesis with a conventional syringe results in moderate to severe pain in 60% of subjects. The reciprocating syringe prevents significant pain, reduces procedure time, and improves physician performance of arthrocentesis. The reciprocating syringe is superior to the conventional syringe in arthrocentesis.
- VAPS, visual analogue scale, pain
- VASS, visual analogue scale, operator satisfaction
- joint procedure
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Published Online First 8 December 2004
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