The obesity hypoventilation syndrome, which is defined as a combination of obesity and chronic hypoventilation, utimately results in pulmonary hypertension, cor pulmonale, and probable early mortality. Since the classical description of this syndrome nearly fifty years ago, research has led to a better understanding of the pathophysiologic mechanisms involved in this disease process, and to the development of effective treatment options. However, recent data indicate the obesity hypoventilation syndrome is under-recognized, and under-treated. Because obesity has become a national epidemic, it is critical that physicians are able to recognize and treat obesity-associated diseases. This article reviews current definitions of the obesity hypoventilation syndrome, clinical presentation and diagnosis, present understanding of the pathophysiology, and treatment options.