Purpose of review: The introduction of the Nuss procedure in 1997 for treatment of pectus excavatum, in conjunction with the ever-expanding body of medical information available on the internet, significantly raised the level of awareness for this deformity as both an anatomic and a functional problem. The subsequent increase in referrals for pectus excavatum repair provided large patient series for clinical analyses to better define underlying physiologic impairments and stimulated surgeons to develop technical improvements to enhance the safety and effectiveness of pectus excavatum repair.
Recent findings: Clinical assessment, diagnostic imaging, and cardiorespiratory testing of patients with pectus excavatum have helped to characterize physiologic impairments associated with severe pectus excavatum and to define inclusion criteria for surgical repair. Appropriate timing of repair is important to minimize complications, especially recurrence. Evidence of improved cardiorespiratory function after pectus excavatum repair has been presented. As a result of numerous technical improvements, safe and effective operative correction of pectus excavatum has been reported for both the Nuss procedure and open repair.
Summary: The findings presented in this review provide objective evidence of the cardiorespiratory impairment associated with severe pectus excavatum. Clinical identification of affected patients should prompt timely work-up and referral for pectus excavatum repair if inclusion criteria are met. Regular follow-up through pubertal growth is recommended.