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Pectus Excavatum (Funnel Breast)


Disease: Pectus Excavatum (Funnel Breast) Pectus Excavatum (Funnel Breast)
Category: Bones, joints, muscles diseases
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Disease Definition:

Pectus excavatum, also known as funnel chest or sunken chest, is a term used to brief the condition of a child’s breastbone being sunken into their chest. This condition occurs in about one in 400 births. Pectus excavatum is less likely to occur in girls than boys.

While mild cases of pectus excavatum could make children feel self-conscious about their look, severe cases of pectus excavatum could eventually intervene with the function of the child’s heart and lungs. The condition can be corrected with surgery.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Most children with pectus excavatum do not start experiencing symptoms until early adolescence, even though the depression of the breastbone usually appears shortly after birth. Pectus excavatum may cause some of these signs and symptoms:


  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced exercise tolerance
  • Recurrent respiratory infections
  • Heart murmur
  • Heart palpitations


Pectus excavatum affects the cartilage that connects the ribs to the lower part of the breastbone, and is an inherited condition. It occasionally occurs together with:

usually occurring in pre-adolescent girls, scoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine.

Mitral valve prolapse:
The mitral valve separates two chambers in the heart. The heart’s efficiency in pumping blood may be reduced due to defects in the mitral valve.

Marfan syndrome:
This hereditary condition affects the connective tissue, usually resulting in limbs and fingers that are particularly long and thin.
Some of the factors that may increase the risk of having this condition include:


  • Race: This disease is more likely to affect white children than Blacks or Hispanics.
  • Sex: Boys are more likely to develop this condition.
  • Family history: The condition seems to run in families.



Compression of the lungs may occur in severe cases of pectus excavatum, in addition to pushing the heart over to one side. Even mild cases of this condition could cause self-consciousness in children regarding their appearance.


Pectus excavatum could be surgically repaired, but it is usually categorized as a cosmetic problem. Study results have been conflicting about whether the surgical repair of pectus excavatum in fact makes heart and lung function better or not.

Most people having had the surgery say that it made them look physically better and eased exercising for them.


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