Pyoderma gangrenosum after cardiac surgery masquerading as a fulminant sternal wound infection

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INTRODUCTION Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is a rare, ulcerative inflammatory skin pathology frequently associated with systemic inflammatory disease. While rare after surgery, recognition of this disease in the post-surgical setting is important as it can mimic wound infection. There have been ten case reports to date of PG occurring immediately after cardiac surgery, with all of them presenting within the first week post-operatively. PRESENTATION OF CASE We herein present a delayed and dramatic presentation of PG nine days after mitral valve replacement and repair of patent foramen ovale, two days after being discharged with a seemingly normal healing wound. Diagnosis of this disease in the postoperative period requires high suspicion when the characteristic ulcerative lesions are seen diffusely in all surgical wounds and show minimal improvement with antibiotic treatment or debridement. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION Our case highlights the importance of recognizing this disease in the postoperative period, even in a delayed presentation and initially limited to one of the surgical sites. This case calls for an awareness of this disease entity amongst cardiac surgeons as well as intensivists.




Suzuki, K., Sieczka, E., Tranbaugh, R., & Hoffman, D. (2015). Pyoderma gangrenosum after cardiac surgery masquerading as a fulminant sternal wound infection. International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, 6, 163–165.

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