Idiopathic congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) is a rare disorder in which affected children have a decreased sensitivity of their respiratory centers to hypercarbia and hypoxia, as well as evidence for generalized autonomic nervous system dysfunction. A genetic origin has long been hypothesized for CCHS. Previous reports of the syndrome among twins, siblings, and half siblings, as well as an established association with Hirschsprung disease and neural crest tumors support this genetic hypothesis. Here, we present the first reported offspring born to four women diagnosed with idiopathic CCHS. Their children display a spectrum of abnormalities with one child being diagnosed with CCHS, one child with recurrent apparent life threatening events, one infant born prematurely with severe chronic lung disease and diminished ventilatory responses to carbon dioxide, and one infant who is apparently healthy with no clinical manifestations suggestive of disordered respiratory control to date. Two and potentially three of these patients illustrate transmission of altered respiratory control by CCHS patients into the next generation, furthering the evidence that CCHS is part of a broadly based inherited syndrome of autonomic nervous system dysfunction.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.