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coronary artery bypass graft surgery, mediastinitis, sternal wound infection



  1. Keib, Carrie N. MS, RN
  2. Pelham, Jodi C. MS, RN


The incidence of mediastinitis following coronary artery bypass graft surgery is less than 5%; however, this devastating complication results in significant mortality and morbidity. Reoperation, prolonged ventilation, increased length of stay in intensive care unit, and extensive wound treatments contribute to patient, family, and institutional burdens. Modifiable risk factors should be corrected whenever possible. Adherence to evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of deep surgical site infections is essential. In addition, recognition and aggressive clinical management of this life-threatening condition have been found to improve patient outcomes. The purpose of this article is to review the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, perioperative risk factors, and current treatment recommendations for mediastinitis following coronary artery bypass graft surgery.