Medical Specialty >> Cardiology

Doctors Lounge - Cardiology Answers

Back to Cardiology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: Somewhat inward sternum/xhiphoid p., and heart health

 d.soares - Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:22 am

I guess this subforum would be more appropriate than "orthopedics", but I'm not sure.

I have a sort of mild anomaly in the ribcage, I'm almost certain that it's not pectus excavatum, even though I don't know its name. When I was little there was a more noticeable depression under (not at) my sternum, which became less evident with time (I'm now 26), perhaps because it's reduced in proportion with the rest of the chest or something else.

I'm also somewhat suspicious of having some sort of heart or circulatory issue, but not quite sure. I'm going to see a doctor in order to check that, and I was wondering if that was something that I should mention, since it may not be easily noticed. In the other hand, I'm also somewhat afraid of sounding like a hypochondriac, as if I was "wanting" to have something wrong, since, to begin with, I think I don't fit very well with the profile of high-risk for heart conditions (not old aged, some belly fat but very far from being obese, I think I have a "somewhat-low-but-yet-good-or-even-better" blood pressure, never smoke, drunk or used any other drug, except for coffee).

I've read once that pectus excavatum has "something to do with the heart", but I've not researched deeply about it. I recall something about the heart being in a different place than it usually is, since the sternum is almost touching the spine. It's very far from my case, but anyway, perhaps it could be slightly misplaced in a manner that had to be taken in consideration for exams, or whatever.

Here are two pictures of 2 x rays I took when I was 5 years old:

(click to enlarge)



So, is it meaningful information, or something that does not really worth mentioning?

Thanks for reading, and hopefully, answering :)
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:05 pm

User avatar Hi there -

While pectus excavatum is sometimes associated with certain anatomical heart abnormalities (odd position being the main one) and occasionally with mitral valve prolapse as well, these are not usually problematic. Then again, having looked at the very good reproductions of your childhood x-rays, I don't see what looks like pectus excavatum, either. I can see a bowing of the sternum with the inward curvature inferiorly, but it doesn't appear pronounced. If it's improved in the interim, it's probably not of any significance at all by now.

If you've had some symptoms which make you wonder if you may have some sort of heart problem then you're wise to have this checked out, and if there is any residual anatomical abnormality, trust me, the doctor will take note of it. It may just not rate any mention at the time of the exam.

Hopefully everything else turns out well. You could mention the anatomical abnormality if you like, and the doctor may be able to explain what it is or was. I don't think he's likely to bring it up on his own, however, unless he finds something specifically relating it to any heart issue that may be uncovered.

Best of luck to you. I hope this is helpful. Let us know how things go with the doctor visit.
 d.soares - Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:56 pm

Thanks again.

I'll mention it in the next visit without fear of looking somewhat paranoid, perhaps it has some significance in the interpretation of the EKG, due to an implicit "wrong" positioning of the leads to some degree.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:04 pm

User avatar You're welcome, and you're quite possibly right, that the slight deformity could actually cause the (possible) altered heart position to not line up with the standard leads. Please let us know what you find out.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us