Pectus excavatum describes an abnormal formation of the rib cage that gives the chest a caved-in or sunken appearance.
Funnel chest; Cobbler’s chest; Sunken chest
Pectus excavatum is a congenital (present at birth) abnormality that can be mild or severe. It usually develops during pregnancy.
It is caused by too much growth of the connective tissue that joins the ribs to the breastbone. This causes the sternum to malform inward. The child typically has a depression in the center of the chest over the sternum, and this may appear quite deep.
If pectus excavatum is severe, it may affect the heart and lungs, making exercise difficult. Also, the appearance of the chest may cause psychological difficulty for the child.
Pectus excavatum may occur as the only abnormality, or together with other syndromes. Often, patients also have a heart problem called
Pectus excavatum will often occur by itself without any family history or other defects or problems. Other causes include:
Familial pectus excavatum Marfan syndrome
- Poland syndrome
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your health care provider if:
- You develop chest pain
- You develop trouble breathing
- You feel depressed or angry about your condition
- You notice decreased exercise tolerance
- You notice redness, swelling, or discharge from the area
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your health care provider will perform a
The health care provider will also ask questions about you or your child’s medical history, such as:
- When did you first notice this?
- Is it getting better, worse, or staying the same?
- Have any other family members had an unusual-shaped chest?
- What other symptoms are there?
Tests may be done to rule out suspected disorders. These tests may include:
This condition can be
Related:Pectus excavatum – discharge, Pectus excavatum repair