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December 1996

Mycobacterium fortuitum Infection of the Sternum: Review of the Literature and Case Illustration

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Drs Samuels, Morris, and Brockman and Mr Sharma) and Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of General Surgery (Drs Solomon and Granick), Hahnemann University Hospital; and Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University (Dr Wood), Philadelphia, Pa.

Arch Surg. 1996;131(12):1344-1346. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430240098014

Sternal wound infection with atypical mycobacteria following open heart surgery is a rare occurrence. Previous reports have described infection by Mycobacterium fortuitum, an acid-fast bacillus and member of a larger family of rapidly growing mycobacteria. The source and mode of transmission have not been identified. Surgical débridement and the combination of aminoglycosides and quinolones have been shown to be effective methods of treatment. More recently, clarithromycin has been shown to be the drug of choice against rapidly growing mycobacteria. We describe a 49-year-old woman who underwent infundibular stenosis repair and in whom M fortuitum sternal osteomyelitis developed. Total sternectomy, muscle flap reconstruction, and antibiotic treatment successfully eradicated the infection.

Arch Surg. 1996;131:1344-1346

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