Chronic hypoventilation and its management

Eur Respir Rev. 2013 Sep 1;22(129):325-32. doi: 10.1183/09059180.00003113.


While obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome dominates discussion of the prevalence of sleep disordered breathing, nocturnal hypoventilation remains extremely prevalent in those with chronic ventilatory disorders and in the natural history of these conditions pre-dates the development of daytime ventilatory failure. In this review the clinical management of chronic hypoventilation in neuromuscular disease will be considered and then compared with that in obesity hypoventilation syndrome. In simple terms these conditions illustrate the polar opposite ends of the spectrum, as in neuromuscular disease the reduced capacity of the respiratory system is unable to withstand a normal respiratory load, and in obesity hypoventilation syndrome the normal capacity of the respiratory system is unable to tolerate a substantially increased ventilatory load.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Humans
  • Hypoventilation / diagnosis
  • Hypoventilation / etiology
  • Hypoventilation / physiopathology
  • Hypoventilation / therapy*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / complications
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / etiology
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / therapy
  • Pulmonary Ventilation*
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome