The facts about Pectus Carinatum

What is pectus carinatum?

Pectus carinatum is a condition in which the sternum (breastbone) protrudes more than usual. It is the opposite of pectus excavatum, in which the breastbone is depressed inward and gives the chest a sunken appearance.

Who is affected by pectus carinatum?

Pectus carinatum is more common in boys. Although babies are born with the condition, it is often not noticed until the child reaches puberty (teen years).

What causes pectus carinatum?

Although the exact causes of pectus carinatum are not known, it is believed to be a disorder of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone.

Pectus carinatum can sometimes be heredity (runs in the family). In some patients, pectus carinatum may be associated with Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder recognized by: long limbs and fingers; chest abnormalities; curvature of the spine; certain facial features; specific changes in the heart valves and aorta; and, displacement (movement) of the lenses of the eyes.

What are the symptoms of pectus carinatum?

Symptoms may be more severe for some patients than for others, and may include any of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heart rate (tachycardia)

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