• Alternative Names

    Chest infection


    You may receive antibiotics if you have an infection.

    You may need surgery to remove the area of inflammation if the blood vessels, windpipe, or esophagus is blocked.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    How well a person does depends on the cause of the mediastinitis.

    Mediastinitis after chest surgery is very serious. There is a significant risk of dying from the condition.


    Complications include the following:

    • Spread of the infection to the:
      • Bloodstream
      • Blood vessels
      • Bones
      • Heart
      • Lungs
    • Scarring

    Scarring can be severe, especially when it is caused by chronic mediastinitis. Scarring can interfere with heart or lung function.

    Calling your health care provider

    Contact your health care provider if you have had open chest surgery and develop:

    • Chest pain
    • Chills
    • Drainage from the wound
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath

    If you have tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, or sarcoidosis and develop any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider right away.