Neurocognitive functioning in individuals with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome

BMC Pediatr. 2020 May 6;20(1):194. doi: 10.1186/s12887-020-2006-5.


Background: Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) is a rare disorder characterized by respiratory system abnormalities, including alveolar hypoventilation and autonomic nervous system dysregulation. CCHS is associated with compromised brain development and neurocognitive functioning. Studies that evaluate cognitive skills in CCHS are limited, and no study has considered cognitive abilities in conjunction with psychosocial and adaptive functioning. Moreover, the roles of pertinent medical variables such as genetic characteristics are also important to consider in the context of neurocognitive functioning.

Methods: Seven participants with CCHS ranging in age from 1 to 20 years underwent neuropsychological evaluations in a clinic setting.

Results: Neurocognitive testing indicated borderline impaired neurocognitive skills, on average, as well as relative weaknesses in working memory. Important strengths, including good coping skills and relatively strong social skills, may serve as protective factors in this population.

Conclusion: CCHS was associated with poor neurocognitive outcomes, especially with some polyalanine repeat expansion mutations (PARMS) genotype. These findings have important implications for individuals with CCHS as well as medical providers for this population.

Keywords: CCHS; Neurocognition; PARMs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hypoventilation* / congenital
  • Hypoventilation* / genetics
  • Infant
  • Mutation
  • Sleep Apnea, Central* / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Central* / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors

Supplementary concepts

  • Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome