Pectus carinatum (pigeon chest)

Pectus carinatum, sometimes called pigeon chest, is when the upper or lower part of your child’s sternum is pressed outwards or raised up.

It’s much less common than funnel chest. It can be associated with heart disease and may cause scoliosis.

Some people with pigeon chest may develop a rigid chest wall. They may experience breathlessness and find it harder to breathe especially when they exercise.

Your child may need a CAT scan and tests to check whether their heart is working properly. They may also need breathing tests to see how well their lungs are working.

Mild cases do not need treatment. If your child’s pigeon chest is more severe, they may need surgery.

There is more information on the Royal Brompton NHS Trust website.

If you have concerns or need advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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Last medically reviewed: September 2016. Due for review: September 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.