Hypoventilation and hyperventilation syndromes

Also known as: Congeital central hypoventilation syndrom, CCHS, Late onset congenital central hypoventilation syndrome, LO-CCHS, Haddad syndrome, HVS

Hypoventilation syndrome
Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) is a rare disorder of respiratory control with autonomic nervous system dysregulation (ANSD). The autonomic nervous system is the portion of the nervous system that controls or regulates certain involuntary body functions including heart rate, blood pressure, temperature regulation, breathing, bowel and bladder control and more. Impaired breathing regulation (respiratory control) is the hallmark of CCHS.

Individuals with CCHS typically present in the newborn period with inadequate shallow breathing (alveolar hypoventilation) during sleep and, in more severely affected individuals, during wakefulness and sleep. Breathing complications occur despite the lungs and airways being normal.

A growing number of individuals are now being identified who present in later infancy, childhood or even adulthood and are called Late Onset Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (LO-CCHS).

Hyperventilation syndrome
Symptoms of hyperventilation usually last 20 to 30 minutes and may include:

  • Feeling anxious, nervous or tense
  • Frequent sighing or yawning
  • Feeling that you can't get enough air (air hunger) or need to sit up to breathe.
  • A pounding and racing heartbeat
  • Problems with balance, lightheadedness or vertigo
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet or around the mouth
  • Chest tightness, fullness, pressure, tenderness or pain

Hyperventilation is not a disease, but you may need to be checked by your doctor if you have repeated episodes of hyperventilation symptoms. If you have recurring symptoms, you might be diagnosed with a condition called hyperventilation syndrome (HVS).

Providence Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine provides inpatient and outpatient consultation, evaluation and state-of-the-art treatment for a wide range of acute and chronic lung diseases and critical illnesses.