Sternal Wound and Mediastinal Infections in Infants With Congenital Heart Disease

Cardiol Young. 1999 May;9(3):280-4. doi: 10.1017/s1047951100004947.


The objective was to describe the epidemiologic, clinical, bacteriologic and therapeutic features of seven infants who developed sternal wound and mediastinal infections following palliation and/or repair procedures for congenital heart disease. A retrospective chart review was used. All infants with sternal wound and mediastinal infections were < 30 days of age at the initial operative procedure. Six of the infants had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and one had complete transposition. Two infants required delayed closure of their chest wound. Three infants had superficial sternal infections and presented at a mean of 12 days postoperatively. Four infants had infection of the deep mediastinal structures: they were all asymptomatic and had purulent collections in their mediastinum at their second palliative operation, which was performed at a mean of 120 days after the initial surgery. Staphylococcus aureus, or coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, was isolated from the wound and/or blood of six infants. All infants with mediastinal infections were managed with operative debridement. Infants with superficial infections underwent local debridement. All infants received long-term intravenous antibiotics. Mediastinal infections in infants undergoing palliative staged procedures for congenital heart lesions may be chronic and indolent, resulting in delayed repair of congenital heart lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Debridement
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / surgery*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mediastinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Mediastinal Diseases / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sternum
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / surgery
  • Transposition of Great Vessels / surgery*