Reinforced sternal closures for prevention of sternal dehiscence in high risk patients

P. Totaro, R. Lorusso, M. Zogno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Sternal dehiscence is still a frequent complication after cardiac surgery procedures, performed through midline sternotomy. Its cumulative incidence has been reported to be around 2.5%, but several risk factors for increased incidence have also been identified. In past years several techniques have been proposed to achieve reinforced sternal approximation, mainly considered for the treatment of sternal dehiscence, more than for its prevention. The objective of this paper is the evaluation of the results, in terms of prevention of sternal dehiscence in high-risk patients, using reinforced closure techniques compared to standard technique. Methods. Our study population included 212 patients who underwent cardiac surgery procedure and presented at least one of the increased risk factor for sternal dehiscence. Fifty-six patients (26.4%) received a reinforced sternal closure technique (RC group), 156 patients (73.6%) received a conventional sternal closure (CC group). Results. The cumulative incidence of sternal refixation, in this selected population, was 5.6% with a statistically significant difference in favour of the RC group. The results of this study clearly show that the appropriate utilisation and selection of one of the several techniques of reinforced sternal closures can be effective in the reduction of sternal dehiscence in high risk patients. Conclusions. A reinforced technique should therefore be utilised in all patients undergoing cardiac surgery, presenting one or more risk factors for increased incidence of sternal dehiscence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-603
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001



  • Cardiac surgical procedures
  • Sternum surgery
  • Surgical wound dehiscence
  • Suture technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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