Purpose: Deep sternal wound infection (DSWI) and mediastinitis are devastating complications after median sternotomy. Previous studies demonstrated an effective prevention of sternal wound infection (SWI) using an external sternal corset in high-risk cardiac surgery patients. The aim of this study is to assess the preventive effect of the Stern-E-Fix corset in high-risk poststernotomy female patients.
Methods: A total of 145 high-risk female patients undergoing cardiac surgery through median sternotomy were retrospectively analyzed. Patients were divided into group A (n = 71), who received the Stern-E-Fix corset (Fendel & Keuchen GmbH, Aachen, Germany), and group B (n = 74), who received the elastic thorax bandage (SanThorax) postoperatively for 6 weeks. The mean follow-up period was 12 weeks.
Results: Incidence of SWI was 7% in group A vs. 17.6% in group B (p = 0.025). One patient presented with DSWI in group A vs. seven patients in group B (p = 0.063). No patient developed mediastinitis in group A vs. four patients in group B (p = 0.121). In all, 4.2% of group A patients required operative wound therapy vs. 16.2% of group B patients (p = 0.026). The length of hospital stay was significantly longer in group B (p = 0.006).
Conclusion: Using an external supportive sternal corset (Stern-E-Fix) yields a significantly better and effective prevention against development of sternal dehiscence, DSWI, and mediastinitis in high-risk poststernotomy female patients.
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