Takuya Uemura1, Hirohisa Yagi2, Mitsuhiro Okada1, Takuya Yokoi1, Kosuke Shintani1, Hiroaki Nakamura1

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan
2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Seikeikai Hospital, Sakai, Japan

Keywords: Child; elbow; leukemia; septic arthritis.


Acute leukemia in children presents with various clinical manifestations that mimic orthopaedic conditions. The association of septic arthritis of the elbow with acute leukemia is very rare, and the correct diagnosis of acute leukemia is often established only after treatment of the septic arthritis. In this article, we present a three-year-old child patient with elbow septic arthritis related to acute leukemia, diagnosed promptly by bone marrow aspiration on the same day as emergency surgical debridement of the septic elbow joint due to the maintenance of a high index of suspicion, and treated with chemotherapy as soon as possible. The emergency physician and orthopaedist must recognize unusual patterns of presentation like this. Since delay in initiating treatment of septic arthritis may result in growth disturbance, elbow septic arthritis associated with pediatric acute leukemia must be treated promptly and appropriately. Early diagnosis is a good prognostic feature of childhood acute leukemia.