Why Should You Promote Cardiac Surgery Support Devices?

Posted by Heart Hugger on Jan 25, 2021 2:02:48 PM

patient and doctor having a conversation about recommended postoperative care devices, sternal support device, heart hugger

The number of heart-related surgeries has increased in recent years.  However, the recovery time and risk of potential postoperative complications remain the same. Healthcare professionals are increasingly turning to sternum support devices to reduce some of the risks of complications. This relatively simple device helps patients to recover quicker and experience fewer issues.

Heart Procedures

When a median sternotomy is done, the surgeon divides the sternum with a vertical incision. This gives them access to the heart. For patients, this is a very invasive procedure.  When surgeons are ready to close, they use stainless steel wires to ensure that the sternum is back in the correct position. Most of the time, this allows that patient to heal without complications. In about five percent of cases, patients can develop mediastinitis, “inflammation of the mid-chest” and other infections. The other potential issue is wound dehiscence which develops from the rupture of the surgical suture and the wound.  All of these issues put the patient’s life at risk. 

Postoperative Care

Sternotomy wounds cause significant pain for patients. To control this and help control dehiscence, sternum support devices have proven to be a key part of healing and rehabilitation. Currently, there are several types of devices on the market.  They consist of a broad belt that is designed to stabilize the chest.  The device is constructed with suspenders that extend to the waist. Handles are located on either side of the chest so that the patient can stabilize the chest are during movement, such as coughing.

The Benefit of Support Devices

There are several benefits of sternum support devices.  Chiefly, they help immobilize the chest and incision area so that pain can be controlled.  Secondly, patients can control movements while coughing or engaging in physical therapy, such as deep breathing. This allows for secretions to be successfully cleared.  It also helps support the chest region if the patient wakes in the nighttime.  It has been clinically shown that the devices allow the patient to experience less pain and help the wound to heal more quickly. 

Alternative Devices

Some hospitals use cardiac pillows for post-operative care.  While these can provide some comfort, there is no demonstrated therapeutic benefit. The bottom line is that these devices can be expensive and potentially lead to exposure to infection risk. 

Alternative Post-Operative Care Devices

There are sternum support devices, such as the Heart Hugger, that provide patients with additional benefits.  Beyond providing external support, it can reduce the risk of infection and readmissions.  These products allow patients to control the support they need during pain-inducing movements such as coughing or sneezing.  This not only shortens recovery time but it gives the patient some control in their recovery process.  Personal autonomy has been clinically shown to reduce pain and anxiety during recovery. 

When you are considering which sternum support devices that will be best for your patients, look into Heart Hugger.  With demonstrated quality and commitment to patient care, our team will be there when you need additional information or assistance.  Contact us for more information. 

Heart Hugger

Written by Heart Hugger

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