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Delayed Sternal Closure After Pediatric Cardiac Operations; Single Center Experience: a Retrospective Study

Emre Özker13*, Bülent Saritaş1, Can Vuran1, Uygar Yörüker1, Halim Ulugöl2 and Riza Türköz1

Author Affiliations

1 Baskent University, Istanbul medical trainning and research hospital, department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Istanbul, Turkey

2 Baskent University, Istanbul medical trainning and research hospital, department of Anesthesiology, Istanbul, Turkey

3 Acibadem mh.ibrahimaga konutlari, a5 d12, Kadiköy, Istanbul, Turkey

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Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 2012, 7:102  doi:10.1186/1749-8090-7-102

Published: 2 October 2012



Delayed sternal closure (DSC) after cardiac surgery is a therapeutic option in the treatment of the severely impaired heart in pediatric cardiac surgery. The results with the technique of DSC over a 4-year period are examined with regard to mortality and morbidity.


We retrospectively reviewed records of 38 patients who had undergone DSC among 1100 congenital cardiac operations. Indication of DSC, time to sternal closure, pre and post closure cardiopulmonary and metabolic status, mortality, rate of wound and bloodstream infections were recorded.


The mean sternal closure time was 2.9 days. The mortality rate was 34.2% (n = 13). Twenty (52.6%) patients required prolonged antibiotic use due to postoperative infection. There was gram negative microorganism predominance. There were 4 (10.5%) patients with postoperative mediastinitis. Postoperative infection rate statistically increased with cardiopulmonary bypass time (CPBT), sternal closure time (SCT) and intensive care unit (ICU) stay time (p = 0.039;p = 0.01;p = 0.012). On the other hand, the mortality rate significantly increased with increased cross clamp time (CCT), SCT, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) use (p = 0.017; p = 0.026; p = 0.03). Single ventricular physiology was found to be risk factor for mortality in delayed sternal closure (p < 0.007).


Elective DSC does not reduce the morbidity. The prolonged sternal closure time is associated with increased rate of postoperative infection rate; therefore early closure is strongly advocated.

Delayed sternal closure; Mediastinitis; Open heart surgery; Pediatric