Background In young children, acquired thoracic dystrophy (ATD) is associated with extensive resection of cartilage, often during open pectus excavatum (PE) repair. Progressive dyspnea or exercise intolerance may develop in these patients secondary to cardiac compression or restrictive pulmonary function. Surgical treatment of ATD by attempting to increase the overall thoracic volume has been controversial. We describe our experience with adults presenting for surgical correction of ATD. Methods A retrospective medical record review was performed for all patients with ATD presenting for surgical evaluation from December 2010 through February 2013. Results Ten adult male patients were evaluated for treatment of ATD after an open Ravitch procedure for PE. Nine patients, whose mean age was 34 years (range, 21-42 years), elected to proceed with surgical treatment. The mean age of the initial repair was 3.7 years. Extensive reconstruction, chest wall expansion, and placement of stainless steel support bars and titanium plating were performed in all patients. Eight patients had minor complications, and major complications occurred in 3 patients. Respiratory failure with prolonged ventilator support occurred in 3 patients. There were no reoperations or deaths. At mean follow-up of 16 months (range, 6-31 months), all patients subjectively reported improvement in their ability to exercise and in their symptoms, including dyspnea with exertion. Conclusions ATD may be associated with early childhood Ravitch repair. Adults may present with disabling symptoms related to cardiac compression and restrictive pulmonary function. Reconstruction with sternal elevation and expansion of the anterior chest subjectively improves symptoms. © 2014 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
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