Pectus excavatum and carinatum

Eur J Med Genet. 2014 Aug;57(8):414-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2014.04.017. Epub 2014 May 10.


Pectus excavatum and carinatum are the most common morphological chest wall abnormalities. For both pectus excavatum and carinatum the pathogenesis is largely unknown although various hypotheses exist. Usually, exclusion of an underlying syndromal or connective tissue disorder is the reason for referral for genetic evaluation. A detailed anamnesis and family history are needed as well as a complete dysmorphological physical examination. If no features of an underlying disorder are detected, then the pectus excavatum/carinatum can be considered as an isolated abnormality and no further genetic studies seem indicated. Although cases of non-syndromal pectus excavatum/carinatum with a positive family history fitting Mendelian inheritance have been described, it is possible that these pedigrees represent multifactorial inheritance, as no genetic cause for familial isolated pectus excavatum/carinatum has been described yet. The recurrence risk for a non-familial iolated pectus excavatum/carinatum is unknown, but thought to be low. If other symptoms are found then appropriate further diagnostic studies are indicated as pectus excavatum/carinatum can be part of many syndromes. However, the most important and most frequently observed monogenic syndromes with pectus excavatum/carinatum are Marfan Syndrome and Noonan Syndrome.

Keywords: Pectus carinatum; Pectus excavatum.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Funnel Chest* / epidemiology
  • Funnel Chest* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Marfan Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Marfan Syndrome / genetics
  • Noonan Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Noonan Syndrome / genetics
  • Pectus Carinatum* / epidemiology
  • Pectus Carinatum* / etiology
  • Turner Syndrome / epidemiology