Delaying sternal closure in cardiac surgery is one of the life-saving decisions for patients in an intraoperative life-threatening condition with no access to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy. Apart from the perioperative period, delayed sternal closure carries the risk of severe postoperative complications. Postoperative care is a difficult challenge faced by intensivists in the intensive care unit (ICU) and requires good cooperation with the various units involved. We report a case of delayed sternal closure during coronary heart bypass surgery in a 59-year-old woman who had intraoperative problems and failed intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) insertion. The patient was treated for 18 days in the ICU and 5 days in the intermediate ward before discharge from the hospital.