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June 1959

Pseudo Pectus Excavatum in the Newborn Due to Lower Respiratory Tract Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, The University of Maryland Hospital, and the Lutheran Hospital of Maryland.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;97(6):864-867. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070010866016

Pectus excavatum or funnel chest is one of the most obvious deformities of the chest. It is usually congenital in origin, but it may be associated with respiratory tract obstruction or rickets.1

Lester2 has observed an acquired funneling of the lower sternum which occurs in the newborn infant after the onset of lower respiratory tract disease. He has called this condition pseudo pectus excavatum.

The purpose of this communication is to report our observation of nine newborn infants who had normal anterior chest walls at birth, all of whom suffered respiratory-distress and developed pectus excavatum shortly after the onset of dyspnea.

Clinical Observations  On the nursery services of two large general hospitals 4,216 consecutive infants were observed; 451 (10.7%) were premature (Table 1).None of the infants had thoracic cage abnormalities at birth. Obvious lower sternal depression was present, however, in nine infants, seven of whom were

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