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Pressure transduction to the thoracic cavity during topical negative pressure therapy of a sternotomy wound

Authors


M Malmsjö, MD, PhD, Vascular Research, Lund University, BMC A13, SE-221 84 Lund, Sweden
E-mail: malin.malmsjo@med.lu.se

Abstract

The present study was performed to examine pressure transduction to the thoracic cavity during topical negative pressure (TNP) therapy of a sternotomy wound. Seven pigs underwent median sternotomy. Pressure transduction catheters were placed on the anterior surface of the heart (under the foam), in the pericardium (under the heart), in the left pleura and in the oesophagus at the level of the heart. The wound was sealed as for TNP therapy. The vacuum source was set to deliver negative pressures between −50 and −200 mmHg. The pressure on the anterior surface of the heart changed in a linear relationship with the applied negative pressure and was slightly lower than the applied negative pressure (−102 ± 9 mmHg at delivered −125 mmHg). Further down in the thoracic cavity, in the pericardium (under the heart), in the left pleura and in the oesophagus, the wound pressure was only slightly affected by TNP therapy. In conclusion during TNP therapy, negative pressure is effectively transmitted to anterior portions of the heart. This may explain our recent findings that TNP increases microvascular blood flow in the myocardium. The pressure difference between the anterior and the posterior portions of the heart causes the right ventricle to be sucked up towards the posterior parts of the sternum, where it might be exposed to the sharp edges of the sternal bone, which may result in heart injury.

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