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Pectus-Unite (Excavatum/Carinatum)

About Pectus Excavatum/Carinatum.

These terms refer to chest wall deformity's resulting in either sunken breastbones (sternum's) for Excavatum (Also known as "Hollow Chest" and "Funnel Chest") and a raised and protruding breastbone (Also known as "Pigeon Chest") for Carinatum. Usually 4 in every 100 people suffer from a pectus deformity.
The cause is unknown, although most children with the condition have had it since birth or early infancy. It may occur as a result of uncoordinated growth between the ribs and the chest. If the ribs grow faster than the expansion of the heart and lungs (which push the sternum outward) then the sternum will be pushed inward. Once this has occurred, the deformity either persists or gets worse.

How it can affect people with it.

For normal day-to-day activities, there is no impact on heart or lung function. Most children will have a lung capacity slightly below average but still within what is considered the normal range. However, the ability of the heart to pump effectively during strenuous exercise may not be normal. Several medical studies have indicated that the sternum may press on the heart enough that the heart cannot fill with blood and pump it out as rapidly as with a normal chest. These same studies demonstrate that the pumping ability of the heart is improved following surgical repair of pectus excavatum/Carinatum. However, there generally is no change in lung capacity following repair.

3 symptoms of the condition.

Pain: It is still not clear what causes the pain. But it can be aching or generally feeling uncomfortable in the chest area.
Decreased Exercise Tolerance: This is probably related to the effect of the breastbone deformity on the heart, stopping regular blood flow.
Appearance: Many children with the pectus deformity are very unhappy with the way their chests look. Whenever the chest is exposed (such as when swimming), it is common for other children to notice this and comment on it or make fun of the appearance. This may cause enough uneasiness that a child alters his or her behavior. Stops going swimming, taking clothes off in a public place. It can generally lead to social awkwardness.

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