Recent Blog Articles

Ask the doctor: Why does my father feel wires poking him in the chest months after open-heart surgery?

Updated: July 01, 2007

Ask the doctor

Why does my father feel wires poking him in the chest months after open-heart surgery?

Q. My father had open-heart surgery 18 months ago. Fairly soon after the operation, he started having the feeling that wires are poking him in the chest. Is that possible? If so, is there a solution?

A. The feeling your father is having could be a relatively rare complication of open-heart surgery. To gain access to the heart, most surgeons split the breastbone and hold it apart with a device called a retractor. (Minimally invasive operations that avoid splitting the breastbone are done in some centers.) When the heart repair is finished, wires are used to hold the breastbone together. Scarring around the twisted portion of the wires can cause the painful "poking" sensation your father is experiencing.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.