Outcomes in the Management of Sternal Dehiscence by Plastic Surgery: A Ten-Year Review in One University Center

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Purpose:Infection rates following median sternotomy vary between 0.2% and 10%. These cases are associated with morbidity and mortality rates between 10% and 25% and 5% and 20%, respectively. The purpose of this study was to evaluate patient outcomes following plastic surgery correction of sternotomy dehiscence (SD).Methods:All patients operated on for an SD following coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), between 1995 and 2005, with 1 or more flaps, were included.Results:Eighty cases were identified over a 10-year period. The mean age was 64 (±9.1) years. Two or more procedures were required in 17.5% of patients, and the mortality rate within 30 days was 12.5%. Significant variability was revealed between the cumulative mortality rates of plastic surgeons, from 0.0% to 50.0%. Multiple associations were identified for poor outcome, including chronic renal insufficiency and early mortality, and obesity with risk of reintervention.Conclusion:Although patients who undergo surgical correction of a deep sternal infection usually tolerate their intervention well, the mortality within 30 days remains high. This study has identified several factors explaining morbidity and mortality in this patient population.

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