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J Cardiothorac Surg. 2009 Jan 12;4:5. doi: 10.1186/1749-8090-4-5.

The concept of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) after poststernotomy mediastinitis--a single center experience with 54 patients.

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Mediclin Herzzentrum Lahr/Baden, Abteilung Herzchirurgie, Hohbergweg 2, 77933 Lahr, Germany.


Deep sternal infections, also known as poststernotomy mediastinitis, are a rare but often fatal complication in cardiac surgery. They are a cause of increased morbidity and mortality and have a significant socioeconomic aspect concerning the health system. Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) followed by muscular pectoralis plasty is a quite new technique for the treatment of mediastinitis after sternotomy. Although it could be demonstrated that this technique is at least as safe and reliable as other techniques for the therapy of deep sternal infections, complications are not absent. We report about our experiences and complications using this therapy in a set of 54 patients out of 3668 patients undergoing cardiac surgery in our institution between January 2005 and April 2007.

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