Among carefully selected patients, cardiac surgery can enhance both quality and duration of life. Today, procedures such as coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) and valve replacement/repair are commonplace, with more than 400 000 median sternotomies for these and other procedures performed annually in the United States.1 Despite the potential benefits, infectious complications remain a significant source of postoperative morbidity, with Staphylococcus aureus infections topping the list2- 4; in the setting of a new valve or endograft, such infections are associated with case-fatality rates of nearly 50%.5 For patients who develop serious staphylococcal infections after cardiac surgery, any operative benefit can be negated by a complex and lengthy postoperative treatment course involving additional procedures (debridement, flap closure) and extended therapy with parenteral antimicrobials. Given the enormous adverse consequences of infectious complications on surgical outcomes, prevention efforts grounded in the best evidence remain essential.
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