Seventeen out of 929 consecutive patients (1.8%) who underwent open-heart surgery during the last three years developed dehiscence of the sternotomy. Infection was the most common cause of dehiscence and occurred more often after reopening of the incision to control bleeding or relieve tamponade. We describe a one stage closure which was used in all 17 cases. A successful result was obtained in 16 cases, discharge from hospital occurring between 21 and 51 days after closure.
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