Helping Heal A Fractured Sternum

Posted by Heart Hugger on Jun 8, 2017 4:13:00 PM

man having sternum pain

Healing a broken bone often seems easier than recovering from heart surgery, but maybe they're not so different after all. They might even have more in common than we realize. There are a set of conventions and steps for treating a broken bone--can the same procedure be used to speed the cardiac rehab process?

Proper Positioning of Broken Bones

After heart surgery, the sternum is essentially a broken bone, but it doesn't exactly follow the same "rules" that other broken bones do. Since extremely important arteries are disturbed during surgery, some specialized steps must be taken when healing the sternum during cardiac rehab. For example, one of the steps in healing a broken bone is to keep the bone fixed in place with enough rigidity to be safe but enough flexibility to allow healing and bodily movement; when it comes to the sternum, this is accomplished with steel wires (while other bones have more options for healing). In other cases, the process is similar to that of any other broken bone--for example, all broken bones must be placed back in the proper position for healing.

What You Need to Know

  • Pressure: One of the biggest considerations in cardiac rehabilitation and sternum healing is pressure. Coughs and sneezes place 60 and 90 pounds of pressure on the sternum, respectively--which means that this is a serious problem to contend with.
  • Pillows: Sometimes, it is recommended that patients use a technique where a pillow is hugged tight to the body to make moving, coughing, and sneezing more comfortable. This actually isn't as efficient as it could be. The technique doesn't make it easy for patients to stay active.
  • Sternum support: To protect the sternum during healing, patients need sternum support from a specialized device. These unique devices make patients comfortable when coughing, sneezing, moving, or doing breathing exercises--which makes cardiac rehab that much easier.

Interested in more information on sternum support? Contact us today!

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