Recently, in the constant search for shortening hospital stay and emproving postoperative recovery, many surgical alternatives have been used. We started the use of a partial sternotomy as an approach to different types of cardiac operations. This paper aims to show the hospital outcome of patients submitted to this technique. From November 1996 to March 1997, 51 patients who underwent partial sternotomy were studied. The mean age of the patients was 46.8 years with 26 females. The most common procedures were valve surgeries followed by myocardial revascularization. The approach used in the patients with valve pathologies was a partial sternotomy in an inverted "T" incision in the superior segment of the sternum, for other pathologies a sternotomy in a "T" incision in the inferior segment was the choice and due to technical difficulties imposed by reoperations and in multiple procedures a third variation, partial sternotomy in an "H" incision was used. In the latter, the sternum was cut from the first to the fourth intercostal spaces. The average size of the skin incision was 9.9 cm. There have been 19 "T" incisions, 17 inverted "T" incisions and 15 "H" incisions. The average assisted ventilation time was 2.8 hours, the average ICU stay was 31.5 hours and the average hospital stay was 5.9 days. No complications resulted directly from the approach itself and in only one case was conversion to total sternotomy necessary. After analyzing the outcome of these 51 patients, we can conclude that partial sternotomy is a safe approach for the treatment of several isolated or associated heart diseases reoperations. It achieves a favorable aesthetic result and achieves postoperative recovery. Therefore, it should be part of every heart-surgeon's repertoire.
Sternum; Heart surgery