The hypoventilation syndromes represent a variety of disorders that affect central ventilatory control, respiratory mechanics, or both. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome is a clinically important disorder with serious cardiovascular and metabolic consequences if unrecognized. Hypoventilation in asthma and COPD is caused by mechanical challenges imparted by airflow obstruction and increase in dead space. In neuromuscular disease, respiratory muscle weakness results in hypoventilation. Decreases in thoracic volume and limited expansion of the chest highlight the restrictive ventilatory impairments seen in hypoventilation associated with chest wall disorders. Despite the mechanism, effective hypoventilation treatment targets the underlying disease and use of noninvasive ventilation.
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