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DentedChest
Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 8:56AM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I have pectus excavatum--a small sunken dent in the middle of my chest around my sternum. It's about 1.5 inches deep and 4 inches long. I've always been a bit self-conscious about it but didn't think too much about it affecting my running. I've recently read on some medical sites on the internet that it can put pressure on the heart and lead to reduced cardiac output and in some cases displace the heart causing problems. I've seen pictures of other cases on the internet and mine doesn't look nearly as severe but still I'm starting to worry a bit. Especially, as I get more fit and my heart gets larger I'm wondering if this will cause problems.

Any other runners have this? What have your experiences been? I've talked to a regular doctor and of course he doesn't think it's a big deal (other than cosmetics) but I think he doesn't really know much about it and especially the link with exercise.
ScottB
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 10:06AM - in reply to DentedChest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
My 5 year old has this. He goes for checkups with a pediatric cardiologist every couple years. The fact that he has to see one of those and not a dentist suggests (obviously) it can affect the heart. I was told that it's not an issue until kids become older and participate in more sports. It can compromise cardiac activity and I've run into several people with the condition who have complained of shortness of breath. I have NOT heard of any deaths related to this. If it gets to the point that breathing and or cardiac efficiency is affected they perform surgery to rectify the problem. The latest type of surgery involves putting a piece of plastic under the depression lifting it up, and keeping it there. I would suggest paying close attention to what your body is telling you as you run. You may have had twinges of chest pain or bouts of shortness of breath so long its become second nature for you. Assess how you feel and by all means see your doctor. A thorough exam, stress test and probably a referral to a cardiologist may be just what the doctor ordered. Good luck.
Monster
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 10:50AM - in reply to ScottB Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I was born with a sunken chest, and, although it wasn't too severe, I had yearly check-ups with the 'chest doctor' to make sure things were okay. Upon entering the fifth grade, I was recommended to have surgery in order to correct the problem so as not to cause any further problems as I hit adolescence.

In fifth grade I spent 1.5 weeks in the hospital and 1 month away from school...the surgery was painful for a little kid and I was given painkillers like morphine. An aluminum rod was stuck into my chest to guide the rib cartillage to grow back straighter. It was removed a year later.

I am now a sophmore in college, and, although my chest has sunken back a little bit (it's much better than before), I feel that it hasn't made that much of a difference. Granted, I wasn't doing interval workouts as a fourth grader, but, except for in the most severe cases, I think this surgery is overly prescribed (I know several others who've had it).

I'm not sure how much medicine has changed in the last ten years, but, as one who has some experience with this, I can say that it's probably not worth doing anything about. It would take a pretty severe case to affect cardio-output, and, as for cosmetics, you'll go from being a dude with a sunken chest, to being a dude with a slightly sunken chest and a 40-stitch scar.

Hope this helps.
DentedChest
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 1:12PM - in reply to Monster Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks Scott B and Monster for your replies. Anyone else?

Scott B. As I mentioned, I already have seen a general doctor who seemed rather useless. I think I need to see a specialist--maybe get an echocardiogram. I have read that Marfans syndrome and Mitral Valve prolapse are correlated with PE...scary!! I have had occasional chest pain but only a few times a year (mostly when lying down). Sometimes it feels like my heart skips beats, but I've heard that can be normal too. Anyway, hope your child remains in good health.

Monster, Has this condition impacted your running? Any shortness of breath (beyond what would seem "normal")? Any tightness, pain in chest? Any heart beat irregularities?
beenthere
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 2:37PM - in reply to DentedChest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I have a sunken pectus and while its nothing severe, I was sent on monthly visits to an orthopedic specialist between the ages of 5 and 10 to make sure it did not develop into something that could pose a potential risk. I'm now 17, and I have a 16:02 5k best, but occasionally I get heart palpitations and a sort of tightness with my breathing. This could be either from my pectus or my asthma-not sure. I used to have a lot of heart pains when I was younger.
SpaceLord
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 3:47PM - in reply to DentedChest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I actually have the opposite, where my sternum raises up from my ribcage. When I was 16-18 years old I was so self-conscious of it, that I lifted weights alot to bulk up...this greatly camoflaged the condition. I saw several thoracic doctors and considered the surgery but ultimately decided that 1-3 months of down time was not worth it. They told me that my lungs may be somewhat restrained since the thick cartilige around the sternum may restrict the expansion of my chest, but I'm a long distance runner (not super-great or anything) and don't really think about it. They did mention that my issue was not as severe as the inverse, as they COULD cause heart issues, but I'm not sure to what extent your condition may cause. As I'm 30 now and more into running than lifting, my condition shows up alittle more, but my fiancee doesn't seem to care and it's become such an after thought that I don't really think about it any more. I think the one guy's story about his surgury and how it was not super-effective, should be an indicator of how that may not be your route. Just make sure your doctor clears you for sports with your condition.
DentedChest
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 4:27PM - in reply to beenthere Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Beenthere,

Actually, I've read that Asthma is quite common among those with PE. So it may not be an either/or thing with you.


beenthere wrote:

occasionally I get heart palpitations and a sort of tightness with my breathing. This could be either from my pectus or my asthma-not sure. I used to have a lot of heart pains when I was younger.
DentedChest
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 4:36PM - in reply to beenthere Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Here's an article that has REAL implications for distance runners with PE. Note that the majority of the sample exercised from 30 minutes to two hours @3times per week. Yet, despite this exercise, their VO2 max were significantly lower than "normal" reference values (which usually are sedentary people). Also their Lactic threshold was "abnormally" low. The authors claim that these anomalies are due to cardiac impairment (pressure on the heart etc.) from PE.

So, perhaps to improve your running it's best to have the surgery???

You can read the article here:

http://www.chestjournal.org/cgi/content/full/124/3/870
beenthere
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/24/2005 5:16PM - in reply to DentedChest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
hmmm....that's an interesting find. I've strangely experienced something of the opposite. When I'm not having asthma symptoms, I actually feel like I can't get superwinded. I've noticed my teammates breathe a lot harder and quicker than me, but yet at most times they end up flying by me in the workouts and stuff. I might just have a good VO2 max and a bad anaerobic threshold.... who knows?
DentedChest
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/25/2005 3:00PM - in reply to beenthere Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Bump. Anyone else? Anyone REAL fast? (That would be nice to hear).
Crevious
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/25/2005 6:16PM - in reply to DentedChest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Im a 16 year old boy that runs high school cross country and i have a indented chest. I have never ever seen a doctor for my condition and have never been tested for asthma. Usually I feel fine but my parents asked me if it affects me and i wasn't quite sure. Some days I noticed a tightness in the center of my chest but didn't know what that was from. Should I have this checked out? but otherwise i havent really noticed to much and i wouldnt be able to handle the harsh surgery that comes with fixing this
Next
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/25/2005 7:18PM - in reply to Crevious Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I played hockey with a guy as a teen who had this condition.
We used to always ask him who punched him in the chest. The truth as he claimed was that he was actually born in a car on the way to hospital and he was dropped on the gear shift knob.
I have it
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/25/2005 7:27PM - in reply to Next Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Hi, I have PE, although I didn't know it was an actual condition. I'm going into my sophomore year in HS, and so far I've done pretty well. I ran 9:34 as a freshman in the 3200 and I haven't really noticed any limitations that having an indent in my chest has set upon my running.
drjimbo77
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/25/2005 8:28PM - in reply to I have it Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I was born with pectus excavatum and had surgery at age 5. This was back in 1981 and it did very little to improve the shape of my chest. When I was younger, I was a bit embarrassed by the monster scar and the subsequent questions about "what happened?". After awhile you just make up heart transplant and stabbing stories and before you know it puberty kicks in and chest hair becomes the great consealer. I am not sure it was a huge hinderance to my DIII running career. I was a 1:53, 4:19, 26:50 8k guy. There was a part of me that always felt like I should have been faster in the longer races. So whether that was due to my abnormal chest anatomy and its effect on my VO2 or was caused by the space between my ears, we will never know. The kid in the scientific study seemed to be on the severe end of the spectrum, my deformity is definately more mild than his.
chest
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/26/2005 8:04AM - in reply to drjimbo77 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Is there a chance that a mildly indented chest doesn't effect you at all? And if it did would you know it?
Dented Chest
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 8/26/2005 1:43PM - in reply to chest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I've been reading more on the internet. From what I have been reading, to be on the safe side if you have a dent in your chest you should get a CT scan to show if your heart is being squeezed by your chest or if it has been displaced to the left. Some people with even mild dents can have this, others with moderate PE won't. So it seems an individual thing. You should also get an echo-cardiagram to see if your heart structure itself is OK. A small percentage of people with PE have Marfan's syndrome--which can be lethal, a much larger percentage have Mitral Valve prolapse--usually OK unless you get alot of regurgitation back into the chamber.

Alot of doctors don't really know crap about this PE stuff. They just think it's a cosmetic problem. Go to a specialist.
Elle
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 5/12/2011 7:33PM - in reply to DentedChest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm an 18 year old girl and have a moderate to severe case, but I've manage to get 3 varsity letters in running. My breathing or heart hasn't affected me in any obvious way in my 4 years of running. I went to specialist at U of M just to be safe, and he said that since I could run such far distances, it meant my body had adapted to the work. So I wouldn't worry, unless something starts to bug you. Also don't bank on your ability to sprint, because its harder for us dented kids. Good luck
Elle
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 5/12/2011 7:35PM - in reply to DentedChest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm an 18 year old girl and have a moderate to severe case, but I've manage to get 3 varsity letters in running. My breathing or heart hasn't affected me in any obvious way in my 4 years of running. I went to specialist at U of M just to be safe, and he said that since I could run such far distances, it meant my body had adapted to the work. So I wouldn't worry, unless something starts to bug you. Also don't bank on your ability to sprint, because its harder for us dented kids. Good luck
Haikun Shouchun
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 5/12/2011 7:41PM - in reply to DentedChest Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I don't, but a guy on my XC team in high school did. It was kind of freaky - the anti-Mr. Chest. He wasn't the best runner, or the worst. Never considered that his chest dent could restrict his heart in any way, but guess it is possible.
black cactus
RE: Anyone with PectusExcavatum (sunken dent in chest)? 5/12/2011 8:38PM - in reply to Elle Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Wow, you just responded to a 6 year old thread. Is this a record?
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