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Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Rate Pectus Excavatum for Military Disability

Pectus Excavatum is a condition where the bones of the sternum and ribs grow inward, creating a sunken area of the chest. This can interfere with the ability of the heart and lungs to properly function.

This condition is normally genetic, considered EPTS, and thus not ratable for Military Disability.

In very rare cases, however, Pectus Excavatum can be caused by trauma to the chest. Most traumatic cases of Pectus Excavatum can be treated and corrected with surgeries.

Assigning a Military Disability Rating to a traumatic Pectus Excavatum condition can be tricky. Ultimately, the condition itself is not rated, but the effects of the condition.

Because of this, the VASRD does not give a code for Pectus Excavatum. Instead, it must be rated analogously on the symptoms it causes.

The most common ratable symptom of Pectus Excavatum is decreased lung function. If the condition affects the lungs, then it is rated under code 6842.

If it affects the heart, then it is rated under the heart code that most closely describes the heart's symptoms. 

If it affects both the heart and the lungs, it can be given two ratings, one for each. 

If it doesn't affect the heart or the lungs, then it can be given a single rating under code 5297 for the ribs. The ribs can only be rated if neither the heart nor lungs are rated.


  1. Does the military help pay for surgery to help repair the chest?

    1. If you have Tricare, they may cover some of the care. You would need to check with them directly to see what your insurance covers.

      Once a veteran, the VA will cover medical care for any condition that is service-connected or service-aggravated. If your pectus excavatum was caused or seriously worsened by your military service and the VA grants service-connection, then they will cover medical care.