Patient information

Deep sternal wound infections are major risk factors after heart surgery and can result in up to 30% mortality and prolonged hospitalization (50+ days). (1)(2) During the bone healing process of 6 weeks, the severed chest bone is held in place by a thin stainless steel wire.

Coughing or abrupt movement can cause the wires to break or cut through the bone, which leads to a reoperation and much prolonged hospital stay. By use of the Posthorax® support vest the fractured chest bone is stabilized.

The Posthorax® support vest reduces the risk of deep sternal wound infection up to 80% as proven during a multi-center study on 2600 patients.(3) (4) (5)



The Posthorax® support vest is worn 6 weeks after the operation until the bone fracture has completely healed. During this time the vest must be worn day and night, like any regular cast.

Use: The two cushions are placed to the left and right of the sternum wound. Before closing pull the vest down all the way in the back! Now breath in as good as possible and close the side bands, first top then botton. Now close the shoulder straps. Adjust until a light pressure on the sternum is achieved. Do not overtighten. For the correct size, measure the chest circumference under the armpits and consult the sizing chart.

IMPORTANT: The vest is worn with the back UNDER the shoulder blades and the front UP around the sternum fracture.

During wear, if the vest moves up in the back, do not re-tighten the shoulder straps. Just pull the vest back down in the back. Wearing the vest too high in the back will lead to discomfort.

For further information please ask your doctor or nurse.

(1) Jonkers D et al: Prevalence of 90 Days Postoperative Wound Infections After Cardiac Surgery - Ejcts 2003; 23:97-102
(2) Fowler V et al: Clinical Predictors of Major Infections After Cardiac Surgery – Circulation. 2005;112:I-358 – I-365
(3) Gorlitzer M et al: A Newly Designed Thorax Support Vest Prevents Sternum Instability After Median Sternotomy – Ejcts.2009.36:335-339 (4) A prospective randomized multicenter trial shows improvement of sternum related complications in cardiac surgery with the Posthorax® support vest – ICVTS.2010.10:714-718
(5) Efficacious preventon of deep sternal wound complications post cardiac surgery by the posthora sternum vest – final results of a prospective ransomized multi-center trial in 2600 patients. F.M.Wagner et Al, (Late breaking news session DGTHG 2011)