Kocher criteria for pediatric septic arthritis of the hip

Last revised by Joshua Yap on 30 Mar 2023

The Kocher criteria for pediatric septic arthritis of the hip is a risk stratification score to aid in differentiating between septic arthritis and transient synovitis of the hip in the pediatric population.

  • non-weight-bearing

  • temperature >38.5°C or >101.3°F

  • CRP >2.0 mg/dL or ESR >40 mm/hr

  • WBC >12.0 x 109 cells/L

1 point is applied to each of the above criteria. Based on the total number of points, the probability of septic arthritis is as follows 1:

  • 0 points: <0.2%

  • 1 point: 3%

  • 2 points: 40%

  • 3 points: 93%

  • 4 points: 97% 

  • if 1-2 criteria are present (intermediate probability), an orthopedic/radiology review is warranted for consideration of hip aspiration, which may require sedation

  • if 3-4 criteria are present (high probability), the patient will often proceed straight to arthroscopic surgical drainage under orthopedics

  • 48% of patients with 3-4 criteria present (high probability) have been found to have underlying osteomyelitis 4

  • the Kocher criteria has limited utility in predicting septic arthritis of the knee 5

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.