Tasty Morsels of EM 047 – Arthrocentesis

24 Apr

As always, this is from the ever expanding google doc on bits and bobs I read and learn from and transfer here for all our learning pleasure.

Reasons to tap a joint

  • fluid for analysis
    • infection
    • crystals
  • drain tense haemarthroses
    • trauma
    • heamophilia (only after factor replacement)
  • evaluate communication with a wound
  • instillation of analgesics (remember you can inject morphine in a joint) or anti-inflammatory agents

Contraindications (pretty much all relative):

  • cellulitis over the joint
  • coagulopathy (but with small needle, it’s well described)
  • prosthetic joint (you really want ortho involved here)


  • Rosen’s 8th Chapter 116

More FOAMed

[featured image: CC License, Knee effusion, James Heliman MD, Wikipedia]

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