The Norwood Operation: Sternal Closure at the Time of Surgery vs Soon After Have Similar Outcomes

Ahmed Asfari, Jeffrey P. Jacobs, Jonathan W. Byrnes, Santiago Borasino, Parthak Prodhan, Hayden Zaccagni, Robert J. Dabal, Robert A. Sorabella, James M. Hammel, Melissa Smith-Parrish, Wenying Zhang, Mousumi Banerjee, Kurt R. Schumacher, Sarah Tabbutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Norwood operation is a complex neonatal surgery. There are limited data to inform the timing of sternal closure. After the Norwood operation, delayed sternal closure (DSC) is frequent. We aimed to examine the association of DSC with outcomes, with a particular interest in how sternal closure at the time of surgery compared with the timing of DSC. Our outcomes included mortality, length of ventilation, length of stay, and postoperative complications. Methods: This retrospective study included neonates who underwent a Norwood operation reported in the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium registry from February 2019 through April 2021. Outcomes of patients with closed sternum were compared to those with sternal closure prior to postoperative day 3 (early closure) and prior to postoperative day 6 (intermediate closure). Results: The incidence of DSC was 74% (500 of 674). The median duration of open sternum was 4 days (interquartile range 3-5 days). Comparing patients with closed sternum to patients with early sternal closure, there was no statistical difference in mortality rate (1.1% vs 0%) and the median hospital postoperative stay (30 days vs 31 days). Compared with closed sternum, patients with intermediate sternal closure required longer mechanical ventilation (5.9 days vs 3.9 days) and fewer subsequent sternotomies (3% vs 7.5%). Conclusions: For important outcomes following the Norwood operation there is no advantage to chest closure at the time of surgery if the chest can be closed prior to postoperative day 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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