Cardiopulmonary Function in Thoracic Wall Deformities: What Do We Really Know?

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Patients with pectus excavatum (PE) frequently present with complaints of exercise intolerance and cardiopulmonary symptoms. There continues to be controversy regarding the physiologic benefits of repair. The aim of this review is to summarize and discuss recent data regarding the cardiopulmonary effects of PE deformity and the evidence for improvement obtained after surgical repair including (1) a greater efficiency of breathing (chest wall mechanics), (2) improvement in pulmonary restrictive deficits, (3) an increase in cardiac chamber size and output, with improved cardiac strain and strain rate, and (4) improvement in exercise capacity.

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