British Heart Foundation
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Sternal Wires - any advice ?

In September 2015 I had a heart attack followed by a quadruple bypass. Good recovery and back to normal within 6 months. However in the last few weeks I have noticed pain in my sternum when making certain movements or if I inadvertently roll over onto my front when sleeping - when sleeping the pain is acute enough to wake me. To the best of my knowledge I haven't strained any muscles in that area or had any sharp blows.

Is it possible that one of my sternum clips/wires has moved or 'broken' ? I don't want to bother my GP unnecessarily so thought I'd check to see if anyone else had experienced something similar.

10 Replies
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Go and bother your GP. I think it unlikely you will have broken one but it could have moved or it could just still be settling down (people talk about it taking 12 months to fully recover). So, on the basis that it’s better to be safe etc, go bother your GP.

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Hi there,

I've had this issue for a number of months post my cabg so far not got to the bottom of it but I do pester my GP, I have another appointment at the plastic surgeon in a few weeks. I have several protrusions that are noticeable and can only be wires. Go pester your gp

Good luck

Mark

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As the others have said go and see your GP, my clips at the top I can feel under my skin and seem to get hot when I sunbath but not an issue for me. I know a lot of Americans have the wires/clips taken out but don't know of anyone in the UK. Might be worth trying some Iboprufen Gel in that area first then see if it settles after a few days.

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I suffered cracked/broken ribs and a displaced breastbone (impact was to right hand ribs) some years ago. It took about three months before I could raise my right arm above shoulder height because of the pain, six months before things felt OK but about a year before I was twinge free. It is worth seeing your GP but it may just be a matter of time.

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I am another who would urge you to see the GP if you are concerned.

That said I too am a little reluctant as since my bypass last June I have had various aches and pains. Luckily they have all seemed to be muscular or skeletal.

Only started this weekend I had a pain in my chest but on the right side. It wasn’t all the time but if I breathed deeply it hurt. It felt very much like my ribs.

I have been overdoing things, anyway here we are at Thursday and the pain has stopped, I have taken things easier this week so think lifting and carrying aggravated things.

I had a lot of aches and pains in the early days sometimes for no apparent reason.

Have it checked out if you are concerned but be aware this is a major operation and healing can be painful, uncomfortable and take time, so take it easy.

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thank you all for your advice - I have made an appointment with my GP for tomorrow afternoon ! I think that what is also worrying me is that I have osteoporosis and I am concerned that the wires are having an adverse effect on my sternum and possibly causing damage to what is already weak bone.

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I hope all is ok, keep us informed please good luck Mark

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Yes there could be a problem with your wires. this happened to me when I had open heart surgery so you need to get it checked out

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Did you ever find anything out on this issue. I am having the same problem and am just at the start of my journey to find out the problem.

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My GP did send me for an x-ray, but nothing showed up - all my wires were OK. Over the next few weeks the pain did go away and (fingers crossed !) the pain hasn't returned. So it still remains a mystery.

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