What is a chest wall disorder?

Chest wall disorders are a group of thoracic deformities that result in inefficient coupling between the respiratory muscles and the thoracic cage. The disorders are usually characterised by a restrictive defect and share the potential of long term hypercapnic respiratory failure.

The most common chest wall abnormality leading to respiratory failure is thoracoplasty. Scoliosis or kyphoscoliosis may also cause severe respiratory failure.

Symptoms of respiratory failure include: dyspnoea on exertion, peripheral oedema, orthopnoea, repeated chest infections, morning headaches, fatigue, poor sleep quality and loss of appetite.