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Patient attitudes to sternotomy and thoracotomy scars

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Crossland, John Hamilton, Professor Sir John BurnORCiD, Dr John O'Sullivan


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Background: There are no data comparing patient attitudes to sternotomy and thoracotomy scars following surgery for congenital heart disease (CHD). Methods: Two hundred and one patients with a scar from CHD surgery (105 sternotomy, 36 thoracotomy, and 60 both scars) had a structured interview to explore attitudes to their scar. Results: Comparable proportions of each group reported that they did not like or hated their scar (23/105 [22%] sternotomy, 9/36 [25%] thoracotomy, 17/60 [28%] both scars). Significantly more patients stated that they where embarrassed by and/or their choice of clothing was affected by a thoracotomy scar (20/36, 56%) than those with a sternotomy scar (36/105, 34%), p = 0.04. This was also seen when comparing sternotomy alone with both scars (36/105 [34%] vs. 34/60 [57%], p = 0.008). Conclusions: Adults who have undergone surgery for CHD are more likely to have a negative attitude to a thoracotomy than a sternotomy scar. Before a change in surgical approach is considered based on patient preferences, the acceptability and psychological impact of the different scars following surgery needs formal study.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Crossland DS, Jackson SP, Lyall R, Hamilton JRL, Hasan A, Burn J, O'Sullivan JJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon

Year: 2005

Volume: 53

Issue: 2

Pages: 93-95

Print publication date: 01/04/2005

ISSN (print): 0171-6425

ISSN (electronic): 1439-1902

Publisher: Georg Thieme Verlag


DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-830422

PubMed id: 15786007


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