Pectus Excavatum is the most common congenital chest cavity deformity, accounting for 95% of cases. It is characterised by a depressed sternum, giving the chest a sunken appearance, and is also known as funnel chest. The deformity is diagnosed in newborns and develops progressively during puberty. It has been estimated that this chest deformity presents in approximately 1 in every 500-1,00 births and, generally, it presents more often in males (male:female ratio of 3:1). The opposite deformity – also common among chest deformities – is known as Pectus Carinatum.
The aetiology of Pectus Excavatum remains unknown, though it may be considered a hereditary condition. There is some evidence of an intrinsic disease at a molecular level in the cartilage in the sternocostal joints, though numbers and intensity vary. On a very few occasions, PE is syndromic (Marfan, Morquio, Pierre Robin, Prune Belly, Poland, Jeune, etc.), though it typically presents in isolation.