Some pectus excavatum patients have a metal ‘Nuss bar’ inserted below the sternum which can make chest compressions more difficult. In those without one, standard compression depths compress the left ventricle more than in non-pectus subjects, and might lead to myocardial injury.
This has led to a recommendation in the journal Resuscitation:
“Until further studies are available, we recommend strong chest compressions, according to the current guidelines, in PE patients with a sternal Nuss bar and, to minimize the risk of myocardial injury, we suggest a reduced chest compression depth (approximately 3–4 cm) at the level of lower half of the sternum in PE patients who have not had corrective surgery.“
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation in pectus excavatum patients: Is it time to say more?
Resuscitation. 2014 Dec 10.[Epub ahead of print]