Pseudomonas aeruginosa sternotomy wound infections occurred in five patients who underwent open heart surgery. The initial isolate in each case was from a mediastinal chest tube routinely cultured on removal. Soft-tissue infection developed in two patients, and sternal osteomyelitis developed in three patients. Pseudomonas-typing studies showed a correlation between five isolates from chest-tube suction pumps used postoperatively and the wound isolates. Analysis of antibiograms of Pseudomonas wound isolates from the cardiac surgery ward from 1975 to 1977 showed eight of 15 with the same antibiogram as the sternotomy pathogens, compared with two of 13 isolates from other wards.
(JAMA 241:1034-1036, 1979)