Review of the technique and complications of median J sternotomy in the dog and cat

Authors

  • C. A. Burton,

    1. Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA
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  • R. N. White

    1. Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA
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ABSTRACT

The surgical and medical records of 67 dogs and nine cats which underwent median sternotomy over a five-year period were reviewed. The indication for median sternotomy and the short and longer term complications were recorded. Twenty-six of the dogs died or were euthanased within 48 hours of the surgery as a consequence of the pre-existing disease or complications of the intrathoracic surgical procedure. A further four dogs were enthanased between 48 hours and 14 days following confirmation of neoplastic processes. Thirty-seven dogs were alive at 14 days; of these, seven dogs (19 per cent) experienced short-term wound complications, including haemorrhage, wound infection, thoracic limb neurological deficits and excessive postoperative discomfort. Of the 37 dogs alive for longer term follow-up, eight dogs (22 per cent) experienced wound complications, including haemorrhage, sternal fracture, sternal osteomyelitis and delayed wound healing. No complications were noted in the cats.

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