Pectus carinatum


Pectus carinatum describes a protrusion of the chest over the sternum, often described as giving the person a bird-like appearance.

Symptoms - Pectus carinatum

Pectus carinatum, with the chest wall held in an outward position, may prevent complete expiration of air from the lungs and thus may restrict air exchange considerably. These patients often experience severe shortness of breath, wheezing and occasionally mild to moderate asthma. With exercise, carinatum patients often develop a very rapid respiratory rate. Some children with pectus carinatum also have scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Some have mitral valve prolapse, a condition in which the heart mitral valve functions abnormally. Connective tissue disorders involving structural abnormalities of the major blood vessels and heart valves are also seen. Although rarely seen, some children have other connective tissue disorders, including arthritis, visual impairment and healing impairment.

Causes - Pectus carinatum

* Congenital pectus carinatum (present at birth) * Trisomy 18 * Trisomy 21 * Homocystinuria * Marfan\'s syndrome * Morquio syndrome * Multiple lentigines syndrome * Osteogenesis imperfecta

Prevention - Pectus carinatum

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Diagnosis - Pectus carinatum

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Prognosis - Pectus carinatum

Pectus deformities usually become more severe during adolescent growth years and remain the same after age 18 years throughout life. Adults often experience increasing symptoms with advancing age. Body building exercises will not alter the ribs and cartilage of the chest wall, and are generally considered not harmful.

Treatment - Pectus carinatum

External bracing technique In children up to age 18 who have mild to moderate pectus carinatum and are motivated to avoid surgery, the use of a custom-fitted chest-wall brace pushing directly on the sternum produces excellent outcomes. Willingness to wear the brace as required is essential for the success of this treatment approach. The brace works in much the same way as orthodontics (braces) works to correct the alignment of teeth. It consists of front and back compression plates that are anchored to aluminum bars. These bars are bound together by an adjustable leather strap on each side. This device is easily hidden under clothing and must be worn from 14 to 23 hours a day, (depending on stage of correction and the treatment protocol employed) until treated or full height is reached. Children are taught how to tighten the straps of the brace so to gradually increase the pressure applied to their chest. Parents learn how to check to see if adequate pressure is being applied. Pediatric surgeons monitor progress at office visits.

Resources - Pectus carinatum

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