The Haller index (HI) remains the standard metric to quantify the severity of pectus
excavatum deformity. However, little data exist to determine how well this parameter
correlates with the difficulty or early outcomes of repair.
The study population was comprised of all patients who underwent pectus bar repair
for pectus excavatum on whom adequate preoperative images on computed tomography allowed
for Haller index calculation, from December 1999 to February 2010. Patients with two
bars placed for repair were excluded. All images were reviewed blinded to outcome
and Haller index was calculated. Pearson’s correlation was used to evaluate the relationship
between age, length of operation, postoperative complications, and length of hospitalization.
The correlations were performed on the entire population and then individual age groups
analyzed: 5–11 y, 12–16 y, and over 17 y. Two-tailed P values were determined from the correlation coefficient and significance was defined
as P ≤ 0.05.
HI was available for 262 patients. There were 66 patients aged 5–11 y, 165 patients
aged 12–16 years, and 30 patients over 17 y. The population was 80% male. In the entire
population, there was a small correlation between postoperative pneumothorax and HI
(R = 0.131, P = 0.05). There was no correlation between age, operative time, postoperative bar
infection, or length of stay. No significant correlations existed in any of the individual
The Haller index holds no correlation with age, operative time, postoperative bar
infection, or length of stay.