What is the postoperative prognosis of pectus excavatum?

Updated: Oct 30, 2018
  • Author: Andre Hebra, MD; Chief Editor: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP  more...
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Answer

The prognosis of pectus excavatum, with treatment, is excellent. Patients with mild pectus excavatum who do not undergo operative correction also have an excellent prognosis. Patients with moderate-to-severe pectus excavatum may experience problems related to cardiopulmonary impairment, decreased exercise tolerance, decreased stamina, and adjustment disorders related to the impact of this deformity on body image and coping mechanisms. Mortality is not associated with the condition.

A prospective study by Lomholt et al indicated that physical and psychosocial health-related quality of life (HRQL) improves in children following surgery for pectus excavatum. Results were based on patient and parent replies to the Child Health Questionnaire provided preoperatively and at 3 and 6 months following correction of the condition. Increased emotional well-being and self-esteem and greater participation in physical and social activities were reported postoperatively. [21]

A literature review by Maagaard and Heiberg found that patients who underwent correction of pectus excavatum have frequently reported a postoperative increase in exercise stamina, with the outcome apparently unrelated to the specific surgical approach used. The investigators suggested that greater exercise capacity results from an increase in anterior-posterior thoracic dimensions, relieving pressure on the cardiac chambers and, consequently, allowing better filling of the heart. [22]


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