Military Disability Made Easy

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.


  • 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.

  • I recently just graduated osut (infantry) and my Pectus affected me physically but nothing I couldn’t push through , then I got covid and now for the last 2 months I can’t do anything such as pt with out having difficulty breathing or chest feels on fire along with tightness I have to sit down just to catch my breath.. I’m nervous to go talk to dr about it because I’m sure they’ll label me as unfit and epts but at the same time I don’t want to be hurting my future self

  • You are correct that your Pectus Excavatum will be considered EPTS, but the symptoms that are the result of Covid will not be considered EPTS. Since you were able to function with your Pectus Excavatum, it's clear that that condition is not unfitting. The real symptoms that are truly interfering with your service seem to be due to the Covid. The reality is that we don't truly know how long-term the symptoms of Covid will ultimately be. They could continue to get better overtime, which means you still could return to full fitness.

    Regardless, it is very important for you to go discuss everything with your military physician. There is no guarantee at this point that they will definitely decide you are unfit and separate you, but if your conditions and symptoms are not properly documented during service, you could end up not having the evidence needed to get the disability benefits you deserve in the future.

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