Sternal bleeding during cardiac surgery is currently controlled using bone wax or other chemical substances that may result in adverse effects and affect wound healing and recovery. The purpose of this study was to identify a safe, cost-effective, and easy-to-use technique to reduce sternal bleeding and sternal trauma during cardiac surgery.Methods
After sternotomy, a sternal protection device was placed over each hemisternal section before insertion of the retractor and remained in situ until the end of surgery. Sternal bleeding and ease of use were assessed and recorded during surgery. Sternal trauma was assessed and recorded within 5 minutes of removal of the device, and overall satisfaction (Global Impression) and any intraoperative adverse events or device malfunction were reported at surgery completion. Patients were followed up 24 hours and 4 weeks after surgery.Results
Twelve patients completed the study. Adverse events reported were not considered related to the device. No sternal trauma was identified in any patient. In 9 of 11 patients, sternal bleeding was reduced after insertion of the device. The device was generally considered easy to use, although some difficulty was encountered when used with the Internal Mammary Artery retractor.Conclusions
Our data suggest that the device is safe and able to reduce sternal bleeding during surgery using sternal retractors. We recommend further studies in a larger population of patients with a control group to evaluate the device's ability to reduce the morbidity associated with sternal bleeding and sternal trauma.