The development of hyperventilation in patients with chronic heart failure and Cheyne-Strokes respiration: a possible role of chronic hypoxia

Chest. 1998 Oct;114(4):1083-90. doi: 10.1378/chest.114.4.1083.


Aim: To analyze the relationship between daytime respiratory and cardiac function in patients with compensated chronic heart failure (CHF) with and without periodic breathing (PB) or Cheyne-Stokes respiration (CSR).

Patients: We studied 132 patients (female, 13%; mean age, 53+/-8 years; body mass index, 25.9+/-3.5 kg/m2; left ventricular ejection fraction <40%; 23% in New York Heart Association class I, 43% in class II, and 34% in class III-IV).

Methods: Measurement of pulmonary function and blood gases, hemodynamic evaluation, analysis of breathing profile, echocardiography, recording of ECG, beat-to-beat arterial oxygen saturation, and respiration during spontaneous breathing.

Results: Fifty-eight percent of patients showed PB or CSR. Patients with PB or CSR have greater cardiac function impairment. Mean values of lung volumes and PaO2 were similar in the three groups of patients considered. In contrast, patients with PB or CSR had an increased minute ventilation and reduced PaCO2 values. Interestingly, patients with PB or CSR had lower values of arterial content of O2 and systemic oxygen transport (SOT) than patients with a normal breathing pattern (SOT, 394+/-9.8, 347+/-9.6, 438+/-11 mL of O2/min/m2, respectively; analysis of variance p<0.001). Weak correlations were found among lung volumes, blood gases, and cardiac function parameters: ie, vital capacity was correlated inversely with pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) (-0.25; p<0.05); PaCO2 with PCWP (r=0.26; p<0.05), lung-to-ear circulation time (LECT) (r=-0.4; p<0.05), SOT (r=-0.33; p<0.0001), and cardiac index (CI) (r=0.27; p=0.003). Multiple regression analyses showed that arterial PCO2 was significantly correlated with SOT, LECT, and CI (r=0.51; r2=0.26; p<0.000001); the correlation became stronger considering only CSR patients (r=0.64; r2=0.4; p<0.001).

Conclusions: Our study shows that patients with daytime breathing disorders have chronic hypocapnia. A reduced SOT may be one of the stimuli determining increased minute ventilation in these patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cheyne-Stokes Respiration / complications*
  • Cheyne-Stokes Respiration / physiopathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation / etiology*
  • Hyperventilation / physiopathology
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Respiration
  • Respiratory Function Tests