While the exact cause of pectus excavatum is unknown, it may be an inherited condition because it sometimes runs in families.

Pectus excavatum can occur in conjunction with other medical conditions, such as:

  • Marfan syndrome. This hereditary condition affects the connective tissue, often resulting in limbs and fingers that are especially long and thin.
  • Scoliosis. An abnormal curvature of the spine, scoliosis usually occurs in pre-adolescent girls.
  • Mitral valve prolapse. The mitral valve separates the two chambers of the left side of the heart. Defects in the mitral valve may reduce the heart's efficiency in pumping blood.
Apr. 15, 2011