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The Efficacy of the Saline Load Test in Determining the Presence of Traumatic Arthrotomy of the Knee

8 August 2015


Background: Lacerations and trauma are one of the leading reasons for visits to the Emergency Room. Treatment of a laceration depends on the location and complexity of the wound. When a trauma involves a joint(especially the knee), determining whether a laceration penetrates the joint capsule has been compromised is an important aspect of the diagnostic process. This review will evaluate the efficacy of the saline load test(SLT) in determining traumatic arthrotomy of the knee.

Methods: An exhaustive search of available medical literature was performed using Medline-OVID, Pubmed, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), Journal of Bone and Joint Surgeons, and Google Scholar using the keywords: laceration; trauma; joint capsule; saline load test; arthrotomy; knee. Studies were assessed for quality GRADE

Results: Six articles were reviewed for relevancy and validity. Two studies were chosen from the six based on eligibility criteria. One of the studies is a prospective study and the other a retrospective study; both studies evaluate the SLT as a diagnostic tool.

Conclusion: The SLT is an effective diagnostic tool for diagnosing traumatic arthrotomy of the knee. In order to achieve maximum specificity and sensitivity of the SLT the maximum amount of volume tolerated must be injected.


Laceration; Trauma; Joint Capsule; Saline Load Test; Arthrotomy; Knee


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