Virtual Conference
Heart Conference

Georgi Manchev

St. Anna University Hospital of Sofia/Medical University of Pleven, Bulgaria

Title: Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Becomes the Treatment of Choice of Deep Sternal Wound Infection


Background: Sternal wound infection, especially deep sternal wound infection, is a serious complication after open heart surgery. It leads to a marked increase in hospital stay, financial expenses and mortality. Treatment is primarily surgical and may be divided into conventional treatment methods and negative pressure wound therapy.

Materials and Methods: Between 2010 and 2021 seventy-seven patients presenting back after cardiac surgery with deep sternal wound infection were treated surgically. Conventional treatment methods were utilized in 45 patients and included wound revision with primary closure, continuous wound irrigation, and open treatment with secondary closure. Negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) was applied in 32 patients. The two treatment arms were compared by two primary outcomes – rate of recurrent infection and hospital mortality. Predictors of mortality and infectious recurrence were identified using multivariate logistic regression. 

Results: Recurrent infection occurred in 18.2% of cases and mortality was 13% in the whole group. NPWT was more successful in preventing recurrent infection OR: 5.4 (95% CI: 1.1-27.5; p=.044) than conventional treatment, and more than moderate left ventricular systolic dysfunction (EF<40%) predisposed to infectious recurrence - OR: 4.7 (95% CI: 1.05-22.1; p=.049). Recurrent infection itself was the strongest predictor of mortality in the multivariate model OR: 0.14 (95% CI: 0.03 - 0.58; p= .007). 

Conclusion: NPWT as an initial method of wound preconditioning followed by definitive wound closure effectively reduces the rate of infectious recurrence and patient mortality. It may become the modality of first choice when dealing with complicated incisional infections following heart surgery.


Georgi Manchev is a cardiothoracic surgeon specializing in aortic and mitral valve repair surgery. He is an assistant professor affiliated to Medical University of Pleven, Bulgaria. His current research focuses on cerebral protection methods during aortic arch operations. He has a number of publications in various topics on cardiac surgery.