Epidemiologic survey of 196 patients with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2004 Mar;37(3):217-29. doi: 10.1002/ppul.10438.


This study examined the cross-sectional medical and social characteristics of children diagnosed with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS). A detailed questionnaire was mailed to all families with a child with CCHS who are affiliated with a family network or support group. The questionnaire response rate was >75% (n=196). Mean age was 10.22 years +/- 6.6 years (SD) (range, 0.4-38 years), with a 1:1 sex ratio. Multisystem involvement was almost universal among the cohort, with Hirschsprung's disease (HD) present in 16.3%; 61.7% of the children had a tracheotomy, but 14.3% were never tracheotomized, with 77 subjects (39.3%) not having a tracheostomy tube at time of survey. Respiratory support approaches varied but clearly reflected the trend towards earlier and more widespread transition to noninvasive ventilatory modalities. Significant developmental problems were noted, but attendance in regular classes occurred in the majority. Significant deficiencies in routine periodic evaluation and management were reported. In addition, the presence of CCHS was associated with a significant financial and psychosocial burden to the families. In conclusion, a comprehensive survey of 196 CCHS children and their families revealed a cross-sectional picture of substantial medical and psychosocial complexities associated with this disorder, and pointed out substantial inadequacies in routine preventive care that appear to impose stress on the families. The emerging trend of earlier transition to noninvasive ventilatory support warrants future studies. Implementation of recommended guidelines for diagnosis and multidisciplinary follow-up of CCHS should ultimately ameliorate the long-term outcome of this lifelong condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / congenital*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypoventilation / congenital*
  • Hypoventilation / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support*
  • Syndrome
  • Tracheotomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology