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Sternum Infection
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Sternum Infection

Jan 13th l999 I had a quadruple bypass....very successful, returned to part time work in 6 weeks.  Four months ago I noticed a small lump on my sternum, directly on the scar.  My local Dr. said to we would have to wait and see what happened.  It came to a head and during the night it ruptured and drained.

Since then I have had a CT Scan-normal, culture-negative, a whole blood count- all three parts very normal, and a WB Induim
san-normal.  The draining has just about stopped, normally a drop or two during the night.  Now I have discovered another
small bump just below the old one.  Since all the test I have taken have not indicated the cause what Dr specialty should I
contact.  The only answer I have received it that one of the wires has broken and this is the result, and that it takes a long time to heal.  
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Avatar_n_tn
This does not sound like a sternal infection, that is an infection of the bone itself. Sternal wound infections are serious and do not get better on their own. Your infection sounds like an infection of the skin around the scar. Probably the best person to evaluate this is the surgeon that did your surgery.
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your prompt response.  The surgery was done at Cleveland Clinic, By Dr McCarthy on Jan 13, 1999.  I reside in Florida.  I also did not mention that I am diabetic.  Since an Ohio visit is not practical, what type doctor should I contact.  So far my cardiologist and endocrinolgist have both seen the "infection" and no directions were forthcomming with the exceptions of the earlier mentioned tests.  Thank you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry to have to post a quetsion in reply...but this board never seems to be taking new posts adn I need help. My husbands doctors ordered an echocardiogram because of the way his heart murmur sounded adn taht the doctor thought he heard congestion around the lungs. The echo reported severe mitral reg. left ventricle dilated w/ global left ventricular hypokinesis, estimated ejection fraction of 45-50%, left atrium mild to moderately enlarged, aortic root is upper limit of normal (what does that mean?), myxomatous changes of mitral valve systolic prolapse of both leaflets, aortic valve has 3 leaflets w/mild focal sclerosis, colorflow doppler demonstrates severe mitral regurgitation w/posteriorly directed jet reaching the pumonary veins,no pericardial effusion(?). So...they told us he was looking at valve surgery by end of month...drs exact words were.."worse case we've ever seen"...A TEE was scheduled and guess what? The TEE came back perfectly healthy...I'm trying to simply take the good news and go on, but the two tests completely contradict each other. The only common results are the tee said very minimal reg. while the echo said severe. the Tee did show that his valve is slightly enlogated( he was probuly born that way) but that there is nothing to worry about...IF he needs surgery it probuly wont be for 30-40 years. HEs 30 years old and is showing no symptoms. I would apprieciate all opinions. Thank you for your help.
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Avatar_n_tn
That is really strange! I would love to hear the docs answer but I doubt you get a reply since you posted under a post. I have had several echos and TEEs and they all said about the same thing- though the TEE is supposed to be more accurate. What did your dr. say about the huge descrepancy? I have found that the best time to post on this forum is around 7:00am to 8:00am  eastern time. Hope you get some answers- it sounds as though you do need a 2nd opinion. I personally would not be satisfied with such hugely different results. Sincerely, TSM
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Avatar_n_tn
It may be helpful to you to know that I have had a similar experience with post (open heart) op incision complications.  In my case, I was able to follow up with my surgeon for treatment of recurring inflamation (inflammation) and "bumps" that would materialize then recede, geginning a couple of months after surgery.  Twice, I developed cysts with drainage, which the surgeon irrigated.  I haven't had symptons that would indicate infections.  The working hypothesis is that my peridic bouts of inflammation are caused by a kind of immune respose to the wires in the sternum.  It's now nearly a year since the surgery, and I've essentially come to accept it as a chronic irritant.  However, were I to get any indications whatsoever that an infection had set in, I would be incredibly aggressive in making sure that it was resolved pronto.
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