O objeivo deste estudo foi determinar a prevalência de mediasinite pós-cirúrgica com o intuito de contribuir para a assis-tência de enfermagem. Para tanto, foi realizada a análise de 896 prontuários de pacientes submeidos à operação cardíaca com esternotomia no Pronto Socorro Car-diológico de Recife-PE,no período de junho de 2007 a junho 2009. As variáveis conside-radas foram: sexo, idade, ipo de operação, antecedentes pessoais, tempo de interna-mento hospitalar, uso de anibióicos e cul-tura de ferida operatória. Observou-se alta letalidade por mediasinite (33,3%). Vários fatores de risco foram ideniicados no es-tudo, tais como: hipertensão arterial sistê-mica (80,9%); tabagismo (61,9%); diabetes mellitus (42,8%) e obesidade (33,3%), sen-do a maioria (76,2%) em pacientes sub-meidos à cirurgia de revascularização do miocárdio. Conclui-se que a mediasinite é uma infecção grave que necessita de su-pervisão conínua da enfermagem e medi-das prevenivas para o diagnósico precoce e a diminuição da mortalidade.
Mediasinite Osteomielite Cirurgia torácica
Post-operative mediastinitis in a
Heart Hospital of Recife:
contributions for nursing care
The objecive of this study was to deter-mine the prevalence of post-operaive me-diasiniis with the purpose to contribute to nursing care knowledge. To do this, an analysis was performed on 896 medical records of paients who underwent heart surgery involving sternotomy at the Cardi-ology Emergency Room of Recife-PE, in the period between June 2007 and June 2009. The following variables were considered: gender, age, type of surgery, personal his-tory, length of stay, use of anibioics, and culture of the surgical wound. A high death rate from mediasiniis was observed (33.3%). Several risk factors were ideni-ied, including: systemic arterial hyperten-sion (80.9%); smoking (61.9%); diabetes mellitus (42.8%); and obesity (33.3%), most of which (76.2%) were ideniied in paients who underwent surgery for myo-cardial revascularizaion. It is concluded that mediasiniis is a serious infecion that needs coninuous nursing supervision and prevenive measures to assure an early di-agnosis and, thus, reduce mortality.
Mediasiniis Osteomyeliis Thoracic surgery Perioperaive nursing
Este estudio objeivó determinar la pre-valencia de mediasiniis postoperatoria con la intención de contribuir a la atención de enfermería. Fueron analizadas 896 his-torias clínicas de pacientes someidos a operación cardíaca con esternotomía en Urgencia Cardiológica de Pernambuco, en el período de junio 2007 a junio 2009. Las variables consideradas fueron: sexo, edad, ipo de operación, antecedentes persona-les, iempo de internación hospitalaria, uso de anibióicos y culivo de la herida opera-toria. Se observó alta mortalidad por me-diasiniis (33,3%). Fueron ideniicados en el estudio algunos de los factores de riesgo, tales como: hipertensión arterial sistémica (80,9%), tabaquismo (61,9%), diabetes me-llitus (42,8%) y obesidad (33,3%), ocurrien-do la mayoría (76,2%) en pacientes somei-dos a cirugía de revascularización del mio-cardio. La mediasiniis es una infección grave que necesita de supervisión coninua de enfermería y medidas prevenivas para el diagnósico precoz y disminución de la mortalidad.
Mediasiniis Osteomieliis Cirugía torácica Enfermería periperatoria marina Gabriella Pereira de Andrada magalhães1, Ludmila medeiros outtes Alves2, Lidianne Fábia de moraes Alcantara3, Simone maria muniz da Silva bezerra4
Mediastinite pós-cirúrgica eM uM Hospital cardiológico de recife: contribuições para a assistência de enferMageM
Mediastinitis postoperatoria en un Hospital cardiológico de recife: contribuciones para la atención de enferMería
1rn. b.sc. in nursing, nossa senhora das graças school of nursing, universidade de pernambuco. recife, pe, brazil. email@example.com 2rn. b.sc. in nursing, nossa senhora das graças school of nursing, universidade de pernambuco. recife, pe, brazil. firstname.lastname@example.org 3rn. b.sc.
in nursing, nossa senhora das graças school of nursing, universidade de pernambuco. recife, pe, brazil. email@example.com 4ph.d. in sciences,
The most prevalent hospital infecions are character-ized by the installaion and development of microorgan-isms in the surgical incision(1). The pathogenesis of post-operaive mediasiniis is both complex and mulifactorial. It is deined as an infecion and/or inlammaion of joint issue in the mediasinum, associated with sternal osteo-myeliis, with or without instability, and may even reach the retrosternal space(2,3-4). It can be caused by medium sternotomy(5-6), esophageal rupture(7-8), deep cervical infecions and, rarely, by pleural empyema, vertebral or costal osteomyeliis, retroperitoneal and subphrenic abscesses(4-5,9).
Factors associated with the development of infecion in cardiac surgery are generally related with the paient (skin colonizaion, obesity, Diabetes Mellitus, age, preop-eraive hospitalizaion ime, pre-exising infecions, dis-ease severity, etc.) and/or with the surgical procedures (ischemia(10), inadequate approximaion of wound bor-ders, presence of necroic issue or foreign
body, duraion of surgery, etc.)(1,11). The sur-gical wound (SW) contaminaion type and degree also depend on the physiological systemic response, release of inlamma-tory mediators, local blood supply, nutriion, the paient’s immunological condiion(11), among others.
Factors like diabetes-related obesity, mainly in patients under insulin therapy, re-operation with longer perfusion and polytransfusion times have been elevated risk factors(8,11-12), which contribute to the appearance of mediastinitis(3,11). The use of two mammary bypass grafts has been highly discussed, as this predisposes to sternal devascularization, creating a
favor-able environment for the appearance of infection(3,8,11). Among the infectious agents found in inflamed me-diastinal tissue cultures, Staphylococcusaureus,
Staph-ylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas sp and
Escherich-ia coli stand out. The latter is associated with a high mortality rate(9,13). Mixed infections are also reported though(8). In some cases, mediastinal exudate cultures can be negative, which in most cases is due to previous antibiotics use(5).
The incidence of postoperaive mediasiniis varies ac-cording to the insituional rouine, use of prophylacic animicrobials, standardizaion of asepic techniques etc. Esimated rates igure between 0.4 and 5.0%, with a mean 2.0%, according to the Guidelines of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Associaion (ACC/ AHA)(14). The mortality rate seems to be related with de-lays in the diagnosis and start of treatment, increasing this frequency by 10.0 to 47.0%(3).
The signs and symptoms mediasiniis paients pres-ent range from persistpres-ent fever ater the fourth postop-eraive day to toxemia, leukocytosis, bacteremia, purulent secreion and surgical wound dehiscence (in 70 to 90% of cases), normally associated with thoracic pain and sternal instability(1,8,12).
The diagnosis is generally late, demanding conirmaion through at least two of the following indings: ideniicaion of microorganisms in the luid collected from the medias-inal space, culture of mediasmedias-inal issues, radiologic evi-dence of infecion and sternal surgical wound dehiscence(15). A permanent diagnosis, however, is reached through a ster-nal puncture or surgical wound exploraion(3,12).
Its treatment ranges from animicrobial therapy to total sternectomy and reconstrucive plasic procedure of the thoracic wall(1,3,12). In paients whose mediasinal wound infecion is only accompanied by subcutaneous problems, treatment involves the iniial opening of the le-sion and judicious analysis of the infecious process and
its extent, guided use of animicrobials and, at the same ime, following the principles of open wound treatment with dressings(1).
Due to the fact that hospital infecions are connected with paient and procedure-related factors, the muliprofessional team plays a fundamental role in the prevenion of hospital infecions. This demands preven-ive measures, in-service training, aitude changes and permanent educaion from health teams and insituions as an essen-ial point in the care process. Moreover, the costs deriving from the hospitalizaion and treatment of a paient with mediasiniis reveal to be thrice as high than those of a paient without infecion(1,12).
As a result of advances in hospital care technologies, the irst Hospital Infecion Control Com-missions (HICC) emerged. In 1997, the Ministry of Health (MH) approved law 9431/97, which established the com-pulsory presence of a Hospital Infecion Control Commis-sion and hospital infecion Control Programs in all hos-pitals, independently of the complexity of care delivery. In the following year, Ministry of Health decree 2616/98 determined on the obligatory presence of the nurse in the professional team that consitutes the Hospital Infecion Control Commission(16).
The responsibility for care delivery demands that deci-sions on intervenions be based on the assessment of pa-ients’ health condiions, on the clinical situaion and on the nature of the infecion one wishes to obtain. Nursing’s cogniive and percepive skills are factors that inluence care and the early ideniicaion of signs and symptoms(2,17).
The importance of this study is due to the fact that it cooperates with data that can be used to idenify risk
the incidence of postoperative mediastinitis varies
according to the institutional routine,
use of prophylactic antimicrobials, standardization of aseptic techniques.
Estimated rates igure
groups for the development of this disease, to elaborate prevenive methods in mediasinal infecion and for the nursing team to create a therapeuic plan, in view of the scarce number of studies about this pathology in Brazil, mainly in the Northeast.
To invesigate the prevalence of postsurgical mediasi-niis in paients hospitalized at the Cardiology Emergency Unit in Pernambuco (PROCAPE), with a view to contribut-ing to nurscontribut-ing care.
This retrospecive, descripive and cross-secional study with a quanitaive approach was developed be-tween June 2007 and June 2009, at the Cardiology Emer-gency Unit of Universidade de Pernambuco, where all iles of paients diagnosed with mediasiniis. Informaion was collected through data the Hospital Infecion Con-trol Commission at the hospital provided. This sector sets standards and rouines, aimed at developing, guiding and supervising acions professionals in health and related ar-eas perform, with a view to minimizing the development and/or occurrence of hospital infecions.
The variables used in this study were: gender, age, dia-betes mellitus (DM), chronic obstrucive pulmonary dis-ease (COPD), obesity (BMI ≥ 30kg/m²), smoking, prelimi-nary heart disease, duraion of cardiopulmoprelimi-nary bypass (> 120 minutes), surgery and hospitalizaion at Intensive Care Units (ICU), postoperaive polytransfusion and use of mammary bypass grat.
Study limitaions included the ideniicaion of skin color, occupaion and educaion level in the sample, due to the lack of data and incomplete paient iles, so that these variables were excluded from the analysis.
The study variables were stored in EPI-INFO sotware, version 3.5.1/2008 - Atlanta/USA, used for staisical cal-culaions with analysis and interpretaion.
A data collecion instrument was used with objecive checklist quesions, which the researchers completed by consuling the paient iles in the hospital’s medical ar-chives. Ideniicaion, history of current and preliminary disease, current disease diagnosis, surgery type, pre-, trans- and postoperaive data, recovery, hospitalizaion ime and hospital discharge data were used. The instru-ment was applied between January and April 2010.
Approval for the research project was obtained from the Research Ethics Commitee (CEP) at Hospital Univer-sitário Oswaldo Cruz (HUOC) under protocol number: 5066.0.000.106-09. Mediasiniis was deined based on the diagnosis present in the medical evoluion.
According to the hospital infecion control reports from the Cardiology Emergency Unit of Universidade de
Pernambuco, between June 2007 and June 2009, 896
car-diac surgeries were accomplished. According to the data obtained from the Hospital Infecion Control Commission, 35 iles of paients diagnosed with mediasiniis were ana-lyzed. Four (04) of these were not found in the medical ar-chives, seven (07) did not have a diagnosis that conirmed thoracic cavity infecion and three (03) paients were op-erated on at another hospital, so that they were excluded from the research. Hence, the study included 21 iles of paients with a conirmed medical diagnosis of postopera-ive mediasiniis were included, hospitalized at the Car-diology Emergency Unit of Universidade de Pernambuco between June 2007 and June 2009.
At this hospital, the Hospital Infecion Control Com-mission nurses, responsible for the primary assessment of surgical wounds with signs of infecion, previously inform paients that, ater discharge, they are expected to visit the hospital for diet monitoring, dressing cleaning and exchange, so as to coninue treatment and avoid unnec-essary rehospitalizaion. As from this iniial assessment, the protocols start which nurses use in infecion control. These consist in: request for a medical surgeon’s opinion on the inspecion of the paient’s thoracic cavity, presence of exudate, osteomyeliis, invesigaion of infecion signs and symptoms, imaging and laboratory tests and clinical assessment of the paient’s general condiion, in order to deine the case. Ater conirmaion, treatment starts through anamnesis and physical examinaion, carefully observing the infected area, deining the type of dressing and the use of animicrobials, if necessary.
In comparison with other infecions, mediasiniis stands out in this study. In total, 96 cases (10.7%) of post-operaive infecions were found. Twenty-one (2.3%) of these referred to mediasiniis ater cardiac surgery with sternotomy, including seven deaths (33%) (Figure1).
Figure 1 – Frequency of deaths and recovered patients at the Cardiology Emergency Unit of Universidade de Pernambuco - Recife, PE, 2007/2009.
Deaths Recovered 66.7
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgeries were related with 76.2% of mediastinitis cases (16 patients), while the remainder occurred after dissection correc-tion (3 cases) and valve replacement (2 patients) (Fig-ure 2). The correlation between CABG surgeries and the development of mediastinitis has been well docu-mented in the literature, appointing more than 80% of infection cases as complications associated with this surgery(8,19).
Figure 2 – Prevalence of coronary artery bypass graft surgeries at the Cardiology Emergency Unit of Universidade de Pernambuco - Recife, PE – 2007/2009.
As for sex, 52.4% of paients were male and 10 (47.6%) female. The mean age was 60.04 ± 15.60, ranging between 1 and 77 years. Concerning origin, 66.6% came from the state capital and 33.4% from the interior (Table 1). Most cases were found in 2007, corresponding to 38.1%. Sig-niicant reducions in case numbers were found in subse-quent periods, with 33.4% and 28.5%.
Co-morbidity factors were predominant: systemic arterial hypertension (SAH) was present in 80.9% of cases; smoking was evidenced in 61.9%; diabetes mellitus in 42.8% and obesity in 33.3% of cases. The remainder showed no important diseases associated with the illness that motivated the surgery and which would represent risk factors for the development of mediastinitis.
As for the paient’s preoperaive skin preparaion, all paients were subject to body hygiene, suggesing a de-crease in skin colonizaion. No issue lesions were ideni-ied, although 20% of paients had been bedridden even before the surgery.
The use of anibioics therapy is indicated in large sur-geries or in paients at risk of developing infecions and who are immunodepressed. In this case, although known in pracice, pre- and intraoperaive prophylaxis with ani-bioics use was not evidenced in the forms analyzed, with litle writen informaion about this aspect.
In the cardiac surgeries that took between 4 and 5 hours, higher rates of mediasiniis were found (35.3% and 29.4%, respecively). Literature data appoint that the intraoperaive duraion of this surgery is approximately ive hours(20).
Table 1 – Epidemiological proile of patients who developed me -diastinitis at the Cardiology Emergency Unit of Universidade de Pernambuco - Recife, PE – 2007/2009
Variables (n = 21) Total
Gender N %
Male 11 52.4
Female 10 47.6
0 – 40 02 9.5
41 – 60 08 38.1
61 – 80 11 52.4
Capital 14 66.7
Interior 07 33.3
Systemic Arterial Hypertension 17 80.9
Alcohol consumption 02 9.5
Allergy 05 23.8
Diabetes Mellitus 09 42.8
Smoking 13 61.9
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 01 4.8
Obesity 07 33.3
Previous Cardiac Surgery 05 23.8
Others 17 80.9
*Obs.: The same ile showed more than one personal antecedent. Mediasiniis was associated with the use of an exter-nal pacemaker in 23.8% of the cases. This is only neces-sary for paients at risk of heart rhythm disturbances, cor-responding to a small percentage of the cases analyzed. This, however, is an important risk factor, as it creates a connecion between the external environment and the interior thoracic cavity, through the external wire, which can consitute an infecion route.
Paients’ total hospitalizaion ime ranged between 16 and 158 days, with the majority varying between 41 and 100 days (50.0%). It was observed, though, that a large part of paients (50.0%) was hospitalized for more than 20 days before the irst surgery, contribuing to the extended hospitalizaion ime.
Another noteworthy factor is the long postoperaive recovery period (21 to 120 days), which is quite high in comparison with the mean recovery ime ater large sur-geries found in other studies (between 7 and 14 days in literature, with a mean 11 days)(21). This can be related to the period between the surgery and the appearance of the irst signs and symptoms (ranging between 2 days and 4 weeks), the delayed diagnosis and the complexity of the disease, which demands long treatments.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Presence of Exsudate Dehiscenc
Tachycardia Hypotension Sternal Instabilit
Figure 3 – Signs and symptoms in patients who developed mediastinitis at the Cardiology Emergency Unit of Universidade de Pernambuco - Recife, PE – 2007/2009
*Obs.: The same ile showed more than one of the signs and symptoms
The distance between the date of the surgery and the ap-pearance of the irst signs and symptoms can be that long that paients are discharged before mediasiniis is diagnosed, re-lecing in the high rehospitalizaion level found (23.8%).
Among the diagnosic conirmaion methods used, the most common was the clinical method (43.0%), followed by culture (35.0%), using lesion issue or exudate. Normally, the diagnosis is conirmed when combining two or more methods.
As soon as mediasiniis is suspected, anibioics therapy is started, which can be modiied ater the culture in case of resistant bacilli. Culture results conirm the presence of in-fecion and their causal agent, which can be more than one, known as mixed infecion. The most frequently isolated germs were S. aureus (25.0%) and K. pneumoniae (21%) (Figure 4).
Figure 4 – Pathogens found in surgical wound cultures with me -diastinitis at the Cardiology Emergency Unit of Universidade de Pernambuco - Recife, PE – 2007/2009
*Obs.: The same ile showed more than one of the signs and symptoms
The low prevalence found in this study is in accordance with similar rates appointed in the literature. In Brazil, in the State of Minas Gerais, the prevalence rate in corre-sponds to 2.1% of the study populaion(5).
The intraoperaive period of cardiac surgeries is crii-cal for paients, due to its complexity and inherent pro-cedures, such as cardiopulmonary bypass and extended duraion. Various factors inluence the incidence of sur-gical wound infecion, including invasive procedures and the insuicient primary defense the surgical trauma and cardiopulmonary bypass provoke. This causes physiologi-cal changes in the immune system, especially due to the use of hypothermia and hemodiluion, predisposing to infecions and altering paients’ normal physiology(19). During this procedure, some nursing diagnoses can be observed, including: imbalanced luid volume, impaired gas exchange, altered protecion due to the inhibiion of the coagulaion system, with systemic heparinizaion and kidnapping of leukocytes from the circulaion, inhibiing its phagocytosis of the germs invading the organism(2). Therefore, nursing professionals should be prepared to intervene in these situaions.
The most found comorbidity factors are also associ-ated with cardiovascular complicaions that need special care and surgical correcion through coronary artery by-pass grat surgery. When it comes to mediasiniis, these turn into severe aggravaing factors as, besides predispos-ing to the need for surgical intervenion, especially sys-temic arterial hypertension, they systemaically inluence
enterobacter ssp. 13%
pseudomonas aeruginosa 4%
escherichia coli 8%
Morganella morganii 8% proteus mirabillis
the human metabolism, like diabetes mellitus, smoking and obesity for example, which hamper healing.
In that sense, nursing is responsible for the ideniica-ion of these condiideniica-ions as early as in the preoperaive pe-riod, so as to plan control acions through health educa-ion pracices, reducing expected postoperaive damage.
The use of mammary grats in coronary artery bypass grat surgeries can enhance the development of medias-iniis because it causes hypoxia in the sternum and local issues, facilitaing the installaion and development of in-fecious microorganisms. Hence, the use of two grats po-tenially increases infecion risks, as it reduces the blood low to the external muscles. In our study, only the use of one mammary grat was found.
The long hospitalizaion in this study corroborates greater infecion risks, due to the greater chance that paients will have contact with pathogens (contact with other paients, health team and hospital environment), besides contribuing to further stress and anxiety and de-pressive condiions, which may decrease their immunity.
Health professionals, especially in nursing, should heed cross infecion control during invasive procedures. Simple ac-ions like hand washing, adequate use of individual protec-ion equipment (gloves, cloaks and masks) and maintenance of asepic techniques help to prevent pathogen transmis-sion. At teaching hospitals, prevenive measures become even more important, due to the large low of people (pro-fessionals from diferent areas and students) at the units.
The problems raised in this research were character-ized to contribute to nursing intervenions, with a view to solving not only the paient’s problem, but also to achieve the necessary safety, obtained through diagnosic sup-port, and to further decision making(22).
The scarce presence of the nursing process was ob-served, as well as these professionals’ limited comple-tion of the patient files (at the ward, ICU and HICC), which did not permit monitoring the services and how they influenced the evolution of patients’ clinical conditions.
This study demonstrates the importance of nursing care to cardiac surgery paients, as a relevant measure to prevent and control the emergence of new mediasiniis cases, contribuing to safe nursing pracices and a low mortality rate due to this problem.
Together with the Hospital Infection Control Com-mission, clinical nurses are the best trained profession-als to act in hospital infection control, due to their clos-er role and monitoring of patients’ clinical evolution, as the first professionals to identify changes in their clini-cal conditions.
Based on this study, the set-up of nursing care sys-temizaion for surgical paients is suggested, including the formulaion and implementaion of print material for nursing care planning, with nursing diagnoses, out-comes and intervenions needed for the sake of epide-miological surveillance; full compleion of the Hospital Infecion Control Commission’s own form; descripion of surgical wound locaion, evoluion and treatment; regu-lar evaluaion to monitor the paient’s progress; rouine nursing supervision in immediate and late postopera-ive paients, so as to idenify signs and symptoms early; permanent educaion and in-service training for nursing professionals, furthering the problem-solving ability of care.
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