For women undergoing median sternotomy, especially those with a bra cup size C or larger, breast support can reduce pain, wound breakdown, and infection. This study addressed a gap in research, identifying the best bra after sternotomy in terms of patient satisfaction and wear compliance.


To evaluate larger-breasted women’s satisfaction and compliance with wearing 3 commercially available front-closure bras—with a hook-loop closure (the hospital’s standard of care), a zipper closure, or a hook-eye closure—after cardiac surgery.


This study used a posttest-only, 3-group randomized controlled design. A convenience sample of participants were sized and randomly assigned a product that was placed immediately postoperatively. Participants agreed to wear the bra at least 20 h/d until the provider cleared them for less wear. At inpatient day 5 or discharge, and at the follow-up outpatient visit, subjects completed investigator-developed surveys. Data were analyzed from 60 participants by using the χ2 test and Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance; also, patterns were identified within written comments.


Participants were most satisfied with the hook-eye front-closure product before (P = .05) and after (P = .02) discharge. Participants recommended the hook-eye and zipper products over the hook-loop bra (H = 8.39, P = .02). Wear compliance was strongest in the group wearing the hook-eye bra.


The hook-eye closure product had the most satisfaction and greatest wear compliance, and it received the highest recommendation. A practice change was made to fit and place the hook-eye bra in the operating room immediately after surgery.

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