Is resternotomy in cardiac surgery still a problem?

David Morales, Erin Williams, Ranjit John

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Multiple factors contribute to the growing number of reoperations for congenital and acquired cardiovascular diseases in the United States. Although the hazards are well-recognized, the health economic burden of resternotomy (RS) remains unclear and may be difficult to quantify. Contrary to published studies citing low frequencies of catastrophic hemorrhage and mortality, survey responses from practicing surgeons disclose higher rates of complications. Safety strategies in cardiac reoperation have generally involved efforts to maximize visualization during dissection, specialized surgical maneuvers and instrumentation, customized methods for establishing extracorporeal circulation, and techniques to prevent or avoid retrosternal adhesions. Yet, the relative cost-effectiveness of these strategies is largely unexplored. With the ongoing constraints in healthcare budgets, differentiating the value of existing and future approaches in terms of relative clinical benefits, costs, and impact on resource utilization will become increasingly important. We reviewed the relevant published literature in order to survey the morbidity and resource utilization associated with RS in cardiac reoperation and to identify key issues relevant for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-286
Number of pages10
JournalInteractive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Cardiac reoperation
  • Health economics
  • Resource allocation


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