Anterior chest wall: frequency of anatomic variations in children.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the frequency of anterior chest wall variations in children. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The computed tomographic (CT) images of 200 consecutive infants and children (114 boys and 86 girls; mean age, 10.5 years; age range, 3 months to 19 years) who underwent chest CT during a 20-month period were evaluated for chest wall variations. Children who had undergone chest wall surgery or were suspected of having a chest wall abnormality were excluded. The frequency of chest wall anomalies was compared with age and sex (Fisher exact test). RESULTS: The CT scans of 65 children (33%) depicted one or more variations in the anterior chest wall: titled sternum (n = 29), prominent convexity of anterior rib or costal cartilage (n = 19), prominent asymmetric costal cartilage (n = 20), well-defined paracostal subcutaneous nodule (n = 4), mild pectus excavatum (n = 4), or mild pectus carinatum (n = 4). The frequency of these findings did not vary significantly with age (P = .96) or sex (P = .36). CONCLUSION: Variations in the anterior chest wall are common, occurring in one-third of children, and should be considered normal. These asymptomatic variations should not be considered alarming when palpated at physical examination.
Donnelly, LF; Frush, DP; Foss, JN; O'Hara, SM; Bisset, GS
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