Computed Tomography Scanning for Sternal Wound Infections: A Systematic Review

Shirke, Manasi Mahesh, Dominic, Catherine, Debnath, Pradipta, Sunny, Jesvin, Haq, Mawiyah, Nawaz, Hamza and Harky, Amer (2024) Computed Tomography Scanning for Sternal Wound Infections: A Systematic Review. The Ulster Medical Journal, 92 (3). pp. 139-147. ISSN 0041-6193

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Sternal wound infection (SWI) has always been a significant risk in patients who undergo sternotomies as part of their cardiac surgical procedures. Computed tomography (CT) imaging is often used to diagnose and assess sternal wound infections. Its purpose includes identifying and locating infection and any sternal dehiscence. A systematic literature review across PubMed, Embase, and Ovid was performed according to PRISMA guidelines to identify relevant articles that discussed the utility of CT scanning for SWI, common features identified, patient outcomes and sensitivity/specificity (Figure 1). 25 papers were included. 100% (n=25) of the papers were published in peer-reviewed journals. CT scans in SWIs can be seen as a beneficial aid in diagnosing as well as determining the components of infection. Commonalities were identified such as fluid collection in the mediastinum, free gas, pleural effusions, and sternal dehiscence which point towards the presence of sternal wound infection. CT scanning is a novel and emerging methodology for imaging in SWI and post-sternotomy complications, hence increased research is required to expand the literature on this area as well as the creation of guidelines and cut-offs or signs for radiology professionals to identify and determine the extent of infection. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2024 Ulster Medical Society.]

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