Increasing Severity of Pectus Excavatum Is Associated with Reduced Pulmonary Function

Document Type


Publication Date




To determine whether pulmonary function decreases as a function of severity of pectus excavatum, and whether reduced function is restrictive or obstructive in nature in a large multicenter study.

Study design

We evaluated preoperative spirometry data in 310 patients and lung volumes in 218 patients aged 6 to 21 years at 11 North American centers. We modeled the impact of the severity of deformity (based on the Haller index) on pulmonary function.


The percentages of patients with abnormal forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced expiratory flow from 25% exhalation to 75% exhalation, and total lung capacity findings increased with increasing Haller index score. Less than 2% of patients demonstrated an obstructive pattern (FEV1/FVC <67%), and 14.5% demonstrated a restrictive pattern (FVC and FEV1 <80% predicted; FEV1/FVC >80%). Patients with a Haller index of 7 are >4 times more likely to have an FVC of ≤80% than those with a Haller index of 4, and are also 4 times more likely to exhibit a restrictive pulmonary pattern.


Among patients presenting for surgical repair of pectus excavatum, those with more severe deformities have a much higher likelihood of decreased pulmonary function with a restrictive pulmonary pattern.