Testing & Diagnosis for Chest Wall Deformities in Children

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How are chest wall deformities diagnosed? 

Your child's doctor can diagnose a chest wall deformity after observing your child after she inhales, exhales and rests.

The physician also calculates the depth of the chest from front to back using x-ray films of the chest to determine whether the diameter is shorter than average (funnel chest) or longer than average (pigeon breast).

The heart is usually widened and displaced to the left. Lung capacity can be measured by exercise tests and lung scans, which often reveal mismatched lungs.

Other tests your child's doctor might recommend include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) - A test that records the electrical activity of your child's heart, shows abnormal rhythms, and detects heart muscle stress.
  • Echocardiogram (echo) - A test that evaluates the structure and function of your child's heart by using sound waves recorded on an electronic sensor, which produce a moving picture of the heart and heart valves.
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