Noninvasive mechanical ventilation in patients with obesity hypoventilation syndrome. Long-term outcome and prognostic factors

Arch Bronconeumol. 2015 Feb;51(2):61-68. doi: 10.1016/j.arbres.2014.02.015. Epub 2014 Apr 2.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction: Obesity is associated with 2 closely related respiratory diseases: obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) and obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS). It has been shown that noninvasive ventilation during sleep produces clinical and functional improvement in these patients. The long-term survival rate with this treatment, and the difference in clinical progress in OHS patients with and without OSAHS are analyzed.

Methodology: Longitudinal, observational study with a cohort of patients diagnosed with OHS, included in a home ventilation program over a period of 12 years, divided into 2 groups: pure OHS and OSAHS-associated OHS. Bi-level positive airway pressure ventilation was administered. During the follow-up period, symptoms, exacerbations and hospitalizations, blood gas tests and pulmonary function tests, and survival rates were monitored and compared.

Results: Eighty-three patients were eligible for analysis, 60 women (72.3%) and 23 men (27.7%), with a mean survival time of 8.47 years. Fifty patients (60.2%) were included in the group without OSAHS (OHS) and 33 (39.8%) in the OSAHS-associated OHS group (OHS-OSAHS). PaCO₂ in the OHS group was significantly higher than in the OHS-OSAHS group (P<.01). OHS patients also had a higher hospitalization rate (P<.05). There was a significant improvement in both groups in FEV₁ and FVC, and no differences between groups in PaCO₂ and PaO₂ values. There were no differences in mortality between the 2 groups, but low FVC values were predictive of mortality.

Conclusions: The use of mechanical ventilation in patients with OHS, with or without OSAHS, is an effective treatment for the correction of blood gases and functional alterations and can achieve prolonged survival rates.

Keywords: Non-invasive mechanical ventilation; Obesity hypoventilation syndrome; Sleep apnea syndrome; Síndrome de apnea del sueño; Síndrome de obesidad-hipoventilación; Ventilación mecánica no invasiva.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Hypercapnia / etiology
  • Hypercapnia / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / blood
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / mortality
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / therapy*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Partial Pressure
  • Patient Compliance
  • Polysomnography
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vital Capacity


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen