Background: In a multicenter randomized trial, sternal closure after cardiac operations using rigid plate fixation (RPF) compared with wire cerclage (WC) resulted in improved sternal healing, reduced sternal complications, and was cost neutral at 6 months. Additional secondary end points are presented from this trial. Methods: Twelve United States centers randomized 236 patients to RPF (n = 116) or WC (n = 120). Patient-reported outcomes measures, including pain, function, and quality of life scores, were assessed through 6 months and correlated to computed tomography–derived sternal healing scores using logistic regression. Cost analysis through 90 days was performed to mimic bundled care models. Results: All patient-reported outcomes measures were numerically better in RPF patients than in WC patients at all assessments. RPF resulted in more patients reporting no sternal pain after coughing at 3 weeks (41.1% vs 19.6%; p = 0.001) and 6 weeks (54.5% vs 35.1%; p = 0.005) and at rest at 6 weeks (74.1% vs 58.8%; p = 0.02) and 3 months (87.6% vs 75.9%; p = 0.03) compared with WC. Better sternal healing scores correlated to having no sternal pain at rest (odds ratio, 1.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 2.2; p = 0.002) and after coughing (odds ratio, 1.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 2.2; p = 0.0007). RPF resulted in improvements in the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey quality of life scores at 3 weeks (53.5 ± 8.7 vs 50.5 ± 10.4; p = 0.03), 6 weeks (45.3 ± 8.4 vs 42.7 ± 8.4; p = 0.03), and 6 months (56.4 ± 6.8 vs 53.9 ± 9.0; p = 0.04) compared with WC. Through 90 days, RPF compared with WC was $1,888 less (95% confidence interval, –$8,889 to $4,273; p = 0.52). Conclusions: In patients undergoing sternal closure after median sternotomy, RPF compared with WC resulted in reduced sternal pain, improved upper extremity function, and similar total 90-day costs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine