Learn About Pectus Carinatum

What is the definition of Pectus Carinatum?

Pectus carinatum is present when the chest protrudes over the sternum. It is often described as giving the person a bird-like appearance.

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What are the alternative names for Pectus Carinatum?

Pigeon breast; Pigeon chest

What is some background information about Pectus Carinatum?

Pectus carinatum may occur alone or along with other genetic disorders or syndromes. The condition causes the sternum to protrude. There is a narrow depression along the sides of the chest. This gives the chest a bowed-out appearance similar to that of a pigeon.

People with pectus carinatum generally develop a normal heart and lungs. However, the deformity may prevent these from functioning as well as they could. There is some evidence that pectus carinatum may prevent complete emptying of air from the lungs in children. These young people may have less stamina, even if they do not recognize it.

Pectus deformities can also have an impact on a child's self-image. Some children live happily with pectus carinatum. For others, the shape of the chest can damage their self-image and self-confidence. These feelings may interfere with forming connections to others.

What are the causes of Pectus Carinatum?

Causes may include:

  • Congenital pectus carinatum (present at birth)
  • Trisomy 18
  • Trisomy 21
  • Homocystinuria
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Morquio syndrome
  • Multiple lentigines syndrome
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta

In many cases the cause is unknown.

How do I perform a home exam for a Pectus Carinatum?

No specific home care is needed for this condition.

When should I contact a medical professional for Pectus Carinatum?

Call your health care provider if you notice that your child's chest seems abnormal in shape.

What should I expect during a doctor appointment?

The provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the child's medical history and symptoms. Questions may include:

  • When did you first notice this? Was it present at birth, or did it develop as the child grew?
  • Is it getting better, worse, or staying the same?
  • What other symptoms are present?

Tests that may be done include:

  • Lung function testing to measure how well the heart and lungs are performing
  • Lab tests such as chromosome studies, enzyme assays, x-rays, or metabolic studies

A brace may be used to treat children and young adolescents. Surgery is sometimes done. Some people have gained improved exercise ability and better lung function after surgery.

Ribcage
Bowed chest (pigeon breast)
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What are the latest Pectus Carinatum Clinical Trials?
Safety and Efficacy of a Modular and Adjustable Chest Compressor Model for Conservative Treatment of Pectus Carinatum: a Multicenter Study
Summary: Pectus carinatum (PC) is a congenital deformity of the chest wall whose prevalence is 0.6% of the population and although it does not cause cardio respiratory physiological damage, it has profound psychological effects on young people. Its treatment today is still primarily surgical in our country, despite the fact that conservative treatment by chest compression may be effective in the chondrogla...
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Prognosis Factors for the Treatment of Pectus Carinatum With a Dynamic Compression System
Summary: Pectus carinatum is a deformation of the thoracic wall causing an aesthetic prejudice. Since 2011, our team uses a dynamic compression system to treat this deformation. It is a harness that the patient wears all day long for an average duration of 1 year, and that remodels the chest by exerting a moderate pressure on it. The local cohort is one of the largest in the world. The few previous publica...
What are the Latest Advances for Pectus Carinatum?
How to Distinguish Marfan Syndrome from Marfanoid Habitus in a Physical Examination-Comparison of External Features in Patients with Marfan Syndrome and Marfanoid Habitus.
Summary: How to Distinguish Marfan Syndrome from Marfanoid Habitus in a Physical Examination-Comparison of External Features in Patients with Marfan Syndrome and Marfanoid Habitus.
Nuss procedure for combined pectus excavatum and carinatum in a patient with a history of congenital esophageal atresia repair surgery.
Summary: Nuss procedure for combined pectus excavatum and carinatum in a patient with a history of congenital esophageal atresia repair surgery.
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Clinical features, genetic detection and therapeutic response to rhGH of children with Noonan syndrome: an analysis of 12 cases.
Summary: Clinical features, genetic detection and therapeutic response to rhGH of children with Noonan syndrome: an analysis of 12 cases.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: August 10, 2021
Published By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Boas SR. Skeletal diseases influencing pulmonary function. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 445.

Gottlieb LJ, Reid RR, Slidell MB. Pediatric chest and trunk defects. In: Rodriguez ED, Losee JE, Neligan PC, eds. Plastic Surgery: Volume 3: Craniofacial, Head and Neck Surgery and Pediatric Plastic Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 40.

Kelly RE, Martinez-Ferro M. Chest wall deformities. In: Holcomb GW, Murphy JP, St. Peter SD eds. Ashcraft's Pediatric Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 20.