Role of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of postoperative organ/space sternal surgical site infections

Fabio Barili, Gianluca Polvani, Veli K. Topkara, Luca Dainese, Faisal H. Cheema, Maurizio Roberto, Moreno Naliato, Alessandro Parolari, Francesco Alamanni, Paolo Biglioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A prospective trial was designed to evaluate the effect of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy on organ/space sternal surgical site infections (SSIs) following cardiac surgery that requires sternotomy. Methods: A total of 32 patients who developed postoperative organ/space sternal SSI were enrolled in this study from 1999 through 2005. All patients were offered HBO therapy. Group 1 included the patients who accepted and were able to undergo HBO therapy (n = 14); group 2 included patients who refused HBO therapy or had contraindications to it (n = 18). Results: The two groups were well matched at baseline with comparable preoperative clinical characteristics and operative factors. Staphylococcus was the most common pathogen for both groups. The duration of infection was similar in groups 1 and 2 (31.8 7.6 vs. 29.3 5.7 days, respectively, p = 0.357). The infection relapse rate was significantly lower in group 1 (0% vs. 33.3%, p = 0.024). Moreover, the duration of intravenous antibiotic use (47.8 ± 7.4 vs. 67.6 ± 25.1 days, p = 0.036) and total hospital stay (52.6 ± 9.1 vs. 73.6 ± 24.5 days, p = 0.026) were both significantly shorter in group 1. Conclusion: Hyperbaric oxygen is a valuable addition to the armamentarium available to physicians for treating postoperative organ/space sternal SSI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1702-1706
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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