Mediastinitis epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Anthony Gallo, B.S. [2]


Generally, mediastinitis possesses a low incidence.[1] Less than 5% of patients develop mediastinitis following chest surgery.

Epidemiology and demographics

Generally, mediastinitis possesses a low incidence.[1] However, mediastinitis is observed at a greater incidence in recent heart transplant patients than the general population.[2][3][4]

Cause Incidence Mortality Main Organism
Pharyngitis 71% unknown Streptococcus bacteria
Dental Infection 60% unknown Odontogenic bacteria
Esophageal perforation (Boerhaave syndrome) 5% 20-60% Oropharyngeal flora
Heart post-sternotomy 0.4-5% 16-47% Staphylococcus aureus


  1. 1.0 1.1 Martínez Vallina P, Espinosa Jiménez D, Hernández Pérez L, Triviño Ramírez A (2011). "Mediastinitis". Arch Bronconeumol. 47 Suppl 8: 32–6. doi:10.1016/S0300-2896(11)70065-5. PMID 23351519.
  2. Piperno D, Gaussorgues P, Léger P, Gérard M, Boyer F, Tigaud S, Pignat JC, Robert D (1987). "[Mediastinitis caused by anaerobic bacteria. 4 cases]". Presse Med (in French). 16 (38): 1889–90. PMID 2962136.
  3. Mekontso-Dessap A, Kirsch M, Brun-Buisson C, Loisance D (2001). "Poststernotomy mediastinitis due to Staphylococcus aureus: comparison of methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible cases". Clin. Infect. Dis. 32 (6): 877–83. doi:10.1086/319355. PMID 11247711.
  4. Jrc, Jcr. The APIC/JCR Infection Prevention and Control Workbook. JRC Publications; 2010.

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