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Selective use of sternal elevation before substernal dissection in more than 2000 Nuss repairs at a single institution

      Abstract

      Background/purpose

      Evaluate the safety of sternal elevation (SE) used selectively before creating the substernal tunnel during the Nuss procedure.

      Methods

      An IRB-approved (01-05-EX-0175-HOSP), single institution, retrospective review was performed (1/1/1997–11/20/2017). Primary and secondary Nuss repairs (i.e., previous Nuss, Ravitch, thoracotomy, or sternotomy) are included. SE use, cardiac injuries, and pectus bar infections are reported. Chi square and Fisher's exact test (FE) were used (critical p < .05).

      Results

      2037 patients [(80% male; mean age 15.2 years (SD = 4.4, range 3–46); mean Haller index (HI) 5.3 (SD = 5.7, range 1.73–201)] underwent Nuss repair. SE was used before creating the substernal tunnel in 171 (8.4%): 160 (8.2%) of 1949 primary and 11 (12.5%) of 88 secondary repairs. SE use increased significantly [χ2(2) = 118.93; p < .001] over time and with increasing HI [χ2(3) = 59.9; p < .001]. No cardiac injuries occurred in primary repairs but two occurred in patients with previous sternotomy. Infection rates were not different with (2.9%) or without SE (1.8%) [χ2(1) =1.14; p = .285] and not higher with off-label VB (1.5%) versus other SE techniques (3.8%) [FE, p = .65)].

      Conclusion

      Selective use of sternal elevation before substernal dissection during the Nuss procedure is safe but may not prevent cardiac injuries in patients with previous sternotomy. Infection rates were not increased with SE.

      Type of study

      Retrospective review.

      Level of evidence

      IV

      Key words

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