After any surgical procedure that involves a sternotomy, it is common for the patient to be placed on Sternal Precautions. The precautions are. Stop immediately if you hear a crunch or pop in your sternum. Protect your sternum. Hug a pillow to your chest or cross your arms over your chest when you laugh, sneeze, or cough. Be careful when you get into or out of a chair or bed. Hug a pillow or cross your arms when you stand or sit. Place a pillow over your chest and hug it tightly if you feel the need to cough or sneeze after your open heart surgery. Ask for help when lifting items. Lifting heavy items is a no-no after open heart surgery. If your doctor has you under sternal precautions, make sure you ask for help when lifting items.


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However, in clinical practice, SP most commonly represent a wide variety of functional restrictions. Restrictions in shoulder range of motion, lifting, reaching, dressing, sternal precautions, driving, and a variety of other tasks have been reported.

However, the exact origin of such restrictions is difficult to find. Furthermore, there appears to be sternal precautions consistency in the type or duration of restriction.

Sternal Precautions - What You Need to Know

The purpose of this paper is to review the available research related to the median sternotomy procedure sternal precautions physical activity.

We begin with a historical perspective of physical activity after myocardial sternal precautions MI and a brief overview of coronary artery bypass graft CABG surgery.

We review the literature regarding 1 complications after cardiac surgery and median sternotomy, 2 symptoms and functional status sternal precautions cardiac surgery, and 3 the changes in pulmonary function and thoracic motion after cardiac surgery.

Finally, we propose an algorithm highlighting the role that appropriately prescribed exercise and functional training, based on specific patient characteristics and limitations, may have in improving outcomes after a median sternotomy.

Such patient specific precautions, rather than restrictions, which focus on function, may be more likely to facilitate recovery after median sternotomy and less likely to impede it. Prior tomany practitioners favored moderate sternal precautions for patients experiencing angina pectoris and with what was later recognized as MI.

In people who have undergone cardiac surgery via median sternotomy, does modifying usual sternal precautions to make them less restrictive improve physical function, pain, kinesiophobia and health-related quality of life?

Two-centre, randomised, controlled trial with concealed allocation, blinded assessors and intention-to-treat analysis. Seventy-two adults who had undergone cardiac surgery via a median sternotomy were included. Participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups at 4 SD 1 days after surgery.

The control group received sternal precautions usual advice to restrict their upper limb use for 4 sternal precautions 6 weeks ie, restrictive sternal precautions.

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The experimental group received advice to use pain and discomfort as the safe limits for their upper limb use during daily activities ie, less restrictive precautions for the sternal precautions period. Wires are placed during surgery to sternal precautions the sternum together as it heals.


Sternal precautions help prevent the wires from cutting through the sternal precautions. The precautions also help prevent the sternum from coming apart from an injury, and prevent pain and bleeding.

You may need to use the precautions for up to 12 weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions based on the type of surgery you had. It is important to follow the instructions sternal precautions.

Sternal Precautions

An injury to the healing sternum can be life-threatening. What are some general sternal precautions? Start slowly and do more sternal precautions you get stronger.


Pain medicine might make it harder for you to know when to slow down or be careful. Stop immediately if you hear a sternal precautions or pop in your sternum.


Hug a pillow to your chest sternal precautions cross your arms over your chest when you laugh, sneeze, or cough.

Be careful when you get into or out of a chair or bed.

  • What are sternal precautions?

Hug a pillow sternal precautions cross your arms when you stand or sit. Do not twist as you move. Use only your legs to sit and stand.