Do external support devices reduce sternal wound complications after cardiac surgery?

A review of six clinical trials

According to a study conducted by William Tsanga, Amit Modi, Ishtiaq Ahmed, and Sunil K. Ohric, the use of external support devices after cardiac surgery with sternotomy can reduce sternal wound complications. The study involved a review of six randomized controlled trials that investigated the effect of external chest support devices on sternal wound complications in adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

The trials demonstrated a significant reduction in deep sternal wound complications when comparing the use of external support devices to no support. Specifically, non-elastic devices were found to be more effective in reducing sternal complications compared to elastic bandages. Additionally, three studies reported a significant reduction in the average length of hospital stay for patients who received non-elastic chest support devices.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that the early use of an external non-elastic sternal support device after sternotomy can effectively reduce overall sternal wound complications and potentially shorten the hospital length of stay for patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

It is important to note that this study provides best evidence based on the available research at the time. However, further studies may be necessary to confirm these findings and evaluate the long-term effects of external support devices on sternal wound complications.

Overall, the use of external support devices shows promise in reducing sternal wound complications after cardiac surgery. Incorporating these devices into post-operative care may have significant benefits for patients, including decreased risk of complications and potentially shorter hospital stays.