Catastrophic hemorrhage on sternal reentry: Still a dreaded complication?

Fabrizio M. Follis, Stuart B. Pett, Kevin B. Miller, Rose S. Wong, R. Thomas Ternes, Jorge A. Wernly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. To define the incidence of catastrophic hemorrhage (CH) during reoperations, the experience of the University of New Mexico was reviewed and compared with the practice of surgeons contacted by questionnaire. Methods. At the University of New Mexico, 610 reoperations were reviewed and 210 deemed high risk because of multiple reoperation, aneurysm, patent grafts, chamber's enlargement, conduit or previous mediastinitis. In the questionnaire, we asked about reentry technique, occurrence and outcome of CH, and precautions for high-risk patients. Results. At the University of New Mexico there were 4 CH with 1 death, and in the questionnaire there were 2,046 CH with 392 deaths. Our rate per surgeon was lower than that of the questionnaire. Rate of CH according to the saw was 2.09 for reciprocating, 2.0 for sagittal, and 1.74 for stryker in the questionnaire. Our rate was lower (0.65) with a micro sagittal saw. High-risk category predicted CH during sternotomy (p = 0.01) but only conduit (p = 0.005) was significant by univariate analysis. Conclusions. The risk of CH could be as high as 1%. The sagittal micro oscillating saw is the safest reported to date. Presence of a conduit increases the risk by 2.5 fold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2215-2219
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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