Primary sternal plating to prevent sternal wound complications after cardiac surgery: Early experience and patterns of failure

Christopher W. Snyder, Laura A. Graham, Richard E. Byers, William L. Holma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sternal closure with rigid titanium plates (primary sternal plating) may reduce sternal wound complications in high-risk patients. We began performing primary sternal plating for the following indications: obesity, manual laborer, osteoporotic sternum, or intraoperative transverse sternal fracture. Patients receiving plate closure were compared to a risk-matched control group receiving wire closure. Outcomes of interest were postoperative length of stay and sternal wound complications wsterile dehiscence or deep sternal wound infection (DSWI)]. Wound complications were classified by time of occurrence as early (≤30 days postoperation) or late (>30 days postoperation). Of 445 total cardiac cases during the 5-year study period, 129 (29%) met inclusion criteria. The plate group (n=30) and wire group (n=99) were generally well-matched in terms of risk factors. Postoperative length of stay was significantly shorter in the plate group (median 7 vs. 8 days, P=0.023). No early sternal wound complications occurred in the plate group, compared to 12 (12%) in the wire group (P=0.067). The incidence of late sternal wound complications was 10% in both groups (P=1.0). Primary sternal plating appears to provide benefits over wire closure during the early postoperative period, but may not prevent late wound complications in patients with osteoporosis or extreme obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-766
Number of pages4
JournalInteractive cardiovascular and thoracic surgery
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Mediastinitis
  • Sternal dehiscence
  • Sternal plating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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