Retrospective study on the development of spinal deformities following sternotomy for congenital heart disease

José A. Herrera-Soto, Kelly L. Vander Have, Patricia Barry-Lane, John L. Myers

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43 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN. Retrospective review with a minimum of 3 years of follow-up. OBJECTIVE. We hypothesize that following median sternotomy there may be an increase incidence of both sagittal and coronal spinal deformity. We also think that heart size and a cyanotic cardiac condition are also risk factors for development of spinal deformity. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and characteristics of spinal deformity in patients following sternotomy for congenital heart disease. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA. Patients with congenital heart disease are at an increased risk to develop scoliosis. METHODS. A total of 108 patients underwent a median sternotomy for the treatment of congenital heart disease and met inclusion criteria. The medical record was reviewed to gather demographic data and medical and surgical history. Serial chest and spine radiographs were reviewed. RESULTS. Scoliosis developed in 28% of the patients (10 males, 20 females). The mean follow-up was 13 years (range, 3-26 years). The mean coronal Cobb angle was 25° (range, 11°-88°). Of these, 7 patients presented with curves of ≥30°. The mean age at diagnosis of scoliosis was 14 years (range, 2-33 years). A kyphotic deformity developed in 22% (24 patients). In patients with scoliosis, the mean sagittal kyphosis was 34° (range, 2°-73°). Patients with a cyanotic cardiac condition had a trend toward severe scoliosis. There was no correlation between the development of scoliosis or kyphosis and the age at time of procedures, number of surgeries, gender, or heart size. CONCLUSION. The risk of developing scoliosis in children with congenital heart disease is more than 10 times that of idiopathic scoliosis. Spinal deformities, including scoliosis and/or kyphosis, were found in 34% of the patients. The sagittal alignment in scoliosis patients tends toward kyphosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1998-2004
Number of pages7
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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