Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sternal Wound Complications

Sternal wound complications fall into three categories: 1) Deep Subcutaneous Infection, 2) Sternal Infection, and 3) Mediastinal Infection with Sternal Dehiscence.

Mediastinitis can contribute to the development of life threatening illnesses, such as systemic sepsis, respiratory insufficiency, and renal failure.  Mediastinitis occurs as a result of sternal instability and dehiscence and is usually evident from six days to three weeks following surgery.   Most patients are usually discharged by this time. Patients at risk for mediastinitis and dehiscence include: those older than 65 years (the Medicare population), and those suffering from diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, COPD and those subjected to prolonged postoperative ventilation.

The incidence of morbidity and death from sternal wound complications occurs in significant numbers of patients. Upwards of 2.3% of patients may suffer these complications with an associated mortality rate of 13% to 52%.  The incidence of mortality after initial discharge and up to the first postoperative year is nearly as high as hospital mortality.  Heart Hugger™ provides sternal stability and support

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