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Mediastinitis in heart and lung transplantation: 15 years experience

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Nick Europe-Finner, Colin Hilton, Professor John Dark


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Background. Mediastinitis after sternotomy carries a very high mortality, especially in patients receiving immunosuppressive treatment. Methods. A retrospective analysis of the data for patients who had undergone cardiopulmonary transplantation between May 1985 and December 2000 was undertaken. A total of 776 patients had either a median sternotomy or a transverse sternotomy through a clam-shell incision. Transplantations were as follows: 591 heart (3 simultaneous heart and renal, and I heart and liver), 126 bilateral sequential lung, 57 heart-lung, 1 en bloc double-lung, and 1 heart and single-lung. Results. In all, 21 (2.7%) recipients had mediastinitis. Of these, 14 had heart, 3 heart-lung, and 4 bilateral lung transplantation. There were 18 median and 3 transverse sternotomies. There were 6 deaths (28.6%). Treatment consisted of antibiotics alone in 2 patients and subxiphisternal drainage in another 2 patients. The sternum was reopened in 17 (80.95%) patients, with debridement and primary closure alone in 5 of these 17 patients and additional irrigation in the other 12. Those who had resternotomy, debridement, and substernal irrigation had a better outcome when compared with the outcomes of other modes of treatment (1 death among 12 patients) (p = 0.06). Age, cardiopulmonary bypass time, body mass index, time to diagnosis, and treatment did not differ between those who survived and those who did not. Conclusions. Early aggressive debridement with substernal irrigation is the best mode of treatment for patients with posttransplantation mediastinitis. (C) 2003 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Abid Q, Nkere UU, Hasan A, Gould K, Forty J, Corris P, Hilton CJ, Dark JH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of Thoracic Surgery

Year: 2003

Volume: 75

Issue: 5

Pages: 1565-1571

ISSN (print): 0003-4975

ISSN (electronic): 1552-6259

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/S0003-4975(02)04905-6


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