Sternal wound infections after pediatric cardiac surgery are uncommon but can be morbid. We describe an institutional protocol for complicated sternal wounds utilizing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) and negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT). A retrospective chart review (2001-2013) of 4,028 pediatric cardiac operations in 3,264 patients less than 18 years of age. Fifty-three patients (1.62%; 53/3,264) were diagnosed with clinical sternal wound infections. There were 27 (50.9%) males and 26 (49.1%) females. Thirty-seven (69.8%) patients received antibiotics and/or debridement; sixteen (30.2%) patients had more complicated infections requiring NPWT and/or HBO therapy. The time to heal for wounds treated with HBO and HBO + NPWT was a mean of 43.75 (±24.27) days (range: 21-98 days; median: 35 days). Among all infected patients, the time from diagnosis of the infection to resolution of the infection for all survivors was 7 to 98 days (mean: 26.41 days; median: 21 days). Forty-eight (90.6%) patients completely healed their wounds, and 45 (84.9%) patients are currently alive. Thirty-eight patients had a cyanotic cardiac diagnosis and 15 had an acyanotic cardiac diagnosis. The most common bacteria isolated from the blood or wound cultures was Staphylococcus aureus. Six of 53 patients died. Causes of death are as follows: three from respiratory failure, one from sepsis, one from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and one from exsanguination leading to cardiac arrest Conclusions: Complicated sternal wound infections after pediatric cardiac surgery refractory to antibiotic therapy and/or debridement can be successfully treated with NPWT and/or HBO therapy.

Copeland, Newcombe, Yamin, Bhajri, Mille, Hasaniya, Bailey, Razzouk (2018). Role of Negative Pressure Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Sternal Wound Infections After Pediatric Cardiac Surgery. World journal for pediatric & congenital heart surgery, 2018 07;9(4):440-445. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29945514