Risks of repeat sternotomy in pediatric cardiac operations

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Abstract

Background.

Repeat sternotomy has been associated with increased perioperative risks.

Methods.

We reviewed 165 patients undergoing 192 repeat sternotomies between January 1985 and January 1997 (group 1) and a control group of 184 patients (group 2). The operations in group 1 were valve procedures in 94 patients, Fontan procedure in 46, ventricular septal defect closure in 10, pulmonary arterioplasty in 17, and others in 25; in group 2 ventricular or atrial septal defect closure in 120 patients, tetralogy of Fallot repair in 26, valve procedures in 16, bidirectional Glenn anastomosis in 7, repair of transposition of the great arteries in 7, pulmonary arterioplasty in 4, and others in 4.

Results.

The hospital mortality was 2.6% in group 1 and 3.8% in group 2. Cardiac laceration occurred in 10 of 192 patients (5.2%), requiring emergent femorofemoral bypass in 6 patients. Two patients sustained an air embolism that was successfully treated with a hyperbaric chamber. Median total blood loss and requirements were not significantly different between the two groups. The length of stay in the intensive care unit and in the hospital were 4 days (range, 1 to 80 days) and 11 days (range, 1 to 135 days) in group 1, and 2 days (range, 1 to 87 days) and 7 days (range, 1 to 131 days) in group 2 (p < 0.02 and p < 0.002, respectively). The rate of complications was not significantly different in group 1 versus group 2. Overall survival was 97% (group 1) and 95% (group 2) at 120 months’ follow-up (not significant).

Conclusions.

With careful surgical technique and judicious use of femorofemoral bypass, the risk of repeat sternotomy is minimized.

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