Allergic Reaction To Sternum Wires After Heart Surgery?

Josie just wrote me an interesting email about sternum wires. She asks, “Adam – I’m eight-weeks post-op and, like you, suffering from on-going chest pain. Plus, my skin is sensitive. By chance, have you ever heard of a patient experiencing an allergic reaction to the sternal wires after heart surgery?”

My immediate answer to Josie’s question was a simple no. However, after doing some research there are a few instances in which patients have suffered from allergic reactions to the wires that hold the sternum in place after cardiac surgery.



Dr. Takazawa from Juntendo University in Japan states, “To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a manganese metal allergy to stainless steel wire. A 51-year-old man suffered from a refractory pruritic erythematous wheal after the insertion of a stainless steel wire. The patch test showed strong reactions to manganese, one of the constituents of stainless steel wire. After the removal of all stainless steel wires, the symptoms were much improved, except for mild pruritus on his face.”

Interesting right?

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

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