Long-term sequelae following median sternotomy wound infection and flap reconstruction.
Use of muscle and omental flaps has been shown to provide reliable reconstruction of infected median sternotomy wounds; however, few reports emphasize the long-term sequelae of the complication and its treatment. This study was performed to evaluate the long-term problems, including patient satisfaction and survival rate, in 88 patients with median sternotomy infections treated with muscle or omental flaps. Forty-two patients were available for long-term follow-up by telephone interview, with an average length of follow-up of 42 months. Forty-three percent complained of chronic chest wall pain or discomfort, and 45% complained of sternal instability. After pectoralis major muscle flap reconstruction in 32 patients, 25% complained of upper extremity weakness, and 56% complained of chest contour deformity. Delayed septic costochondritis or osteomyelitis occurred in 8%. Despite these unfavorable consequences, 72% and 83% of patients were satisfied with the cosmesis of the operation and the overall result, respectively. Furthermore, after hospital discharge, these patients seem to enjoy satisfactory longevity. By emphasizing the potential sequelae, further research interest may be stimulated in delineating their causes and in refining techniques of reconstruction.
Yuen, JC; Zhou, AT; Serafin, D; Georgiade, GS
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