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