The purpose of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the outcome of refractory infected mediastinitis managed primarily with mobilization of pectoral muscle flaps and omental transposition. From January 1992 to December 1995, infected mediastinitis occurred in 11 (2.5%) of 447 consecutive patients. All patients required sternal debridement. The wound was thoroughly irrigated with a solution of 0.5% povidone-iodine in physiological saline after debridement and then the defect was repaired. Reconstruction of the chest wall was attained using pectoral muscle flaps in seven patients and pectoral muscle flaps and omental transposition in four. Antibiotic therapy was provided for 6 weeks or more according to the regimen in North America. No hospital deaths occurred after surgery. Significant early complications occurred in four patients. The reasons for the prolonged hospitalization were a recurrent wound infection, prosthetic valve endocarditis and saphenous vein graft pseudoaneurysm formation caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE). Length of stay in ICU after surgical treatment was range 1 to 140 days (an average of 11 +/- 3 days in 9 patients without complications in ICU). Duration between surgical treatment and discharge was range 47 to 300 days (an average of 58 +/- 8 days in 7 patients without significant early complications). At the time of this report, the patients are doing well with no signs of recurrence of infection. The mean follow-up was 28.8 months (range 8 to 48 months). We conclude that single-stage mobilization of pectoral muscle flaps together with omental transposition is very usefull for managing refractory infected mediastinitis. But careful follow-up is needed after this procedure in case of MRSA-caused mediastinitis because of its tendency to recur.