CASE REPORTS
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Fractured sternal wire causing a cardiac laceration.

BACKGROUND: Hemopericardium is a serious complication that can occur after cardiac surgery. While most post-operative causes are due to inflammation and bleeding, patients with broken sternal wires and an unstable sternum may develop hemopericardium from penetrating trauma.

CASE PRESENTATION: We present the case of a 62-year-old male who underwent triple coronary bypass surgery and presented five months later with sudden anterior chest wall pain. Chest computed tomography revealed hemopericardium with an associated broken sternal wire that had penetrated into the pericardial space. The patient underwent a redo-sternotomy which revealed a 3.5 cm bleeding, jagged right ventricular laceration that correlated to the imaging findings of a fractured sternal wire projecting in the pericardial space. The laceration was repaired using interrupted 4 - 0 polypropylene sutures in horizontal mattress fashion between strips of bovine pericardium. The patient's recovery was uneventful and he was discharged on post-operative day four without complications.

CONCLUSION: Patients with broken sternal wires and an unstable sternum require careful evaluation and management as these may have potentially life-threatening complications if left untreated.

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