A case report of surgical repair of cleft sternum in a child

Clin Ter. 2021 Nov 22;172(6):495-499. doi: 10.7417/CT.2021.2363.


Background: Sternal cleft is a rare congenital chest wall defect, occurring in only 1 in 100,000 live births, and very few cases have been described in the literature. Surgery is indicated to protect the heart and major vessels. This study provides a clinical case presentation and literature review of sternal cleft.

Methods: This is a review of a case presenting with chest wall defects. The patient underwent a primary cleft closure at Children's Hospital No. 2. All perioperative data were collected and presented.

Case presentation: A healthy 3-year-old girl was admitted to Children's Hospital No. 2 with an abnormal chest shape, observed by her mother. An inverted "U"-shaped defect of the sternum was visible, and the extent of the defect could be observed by chest X-ray and spiral computed tomography (CT) imaging of the chest. After the diagnosis was confirmed, the patient was prepared for primary closure surgery. We achieved primary closure, the patient discontinued oxygen 5 days after surgery, and the patient was discharged 14 days after surgery.

Conclusion: Chest wall malformations can present with various phenotypes, although congenital sternal cleft is a rare anomaly. This defect is often asymptomatic. Depending on the size of the defect, a sternal cleft may be treated or monitored. The optimal treatment during early life is surgical repair to achieve primary closure.

Keywords: Cantrell’s pentalogy; Sternal clefts; primary closure; surgical repair.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Abnormalities* / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Sternum / abnormalities
  • Sternum / diagnostic imaging
  • Sternum / surgery

Supplementary concepts

  • Sternal cleft