Pectus carinatum (PEK-tus kair-ih-NOT-um) is a deformity of the chest. Abnormal
growth of rib and breastbone (sternum) cartilage causes the breastbone to bulge out.
This can give the chest a birdlike appearance.
More to Know
Pectus carinatum usually doesn't appear until about age 11 or older, and gets worse
as kids grow. It's more common in males.
It may affect one side of the chest more than the other. Some kids have pectus
carinatum on one side of the chest, and an indentation called pectus excavatum on
the other side. Pectus carinatum can be associated with scoliosis
or congenital heart problems. Pectus carinatum is also seen
with Marfan syndrome and
other genetic disorders.
Kids and teens with pectus carinatum may have trouble breathing (especially during
and frequent respiratory infections.
Keep in Mind
Pectus carinatum can be harmless if it's not affecting how the lungs or heart work.
But it can cause someone to have a poor self-image.
The condition may be treated by wearing a brace. Sometimes surgery is done. But
kids with mild forms of pectus carinatum — who aren't bothered by their appearance
and don't have breathing problems — don't need treatment.
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