Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) is a type of central sleep apnea that affects normal breathing control.

Symptoms of central hypoventilation

People with this disorder take shallow breaths (hypoventilate), especially during sleep, resulting in a shortage of oxygen and a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood.

Autonomic dysfunction in CCHS

Ordinarily, the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary body processes (autonomic nervous system) would react to such an imbalance by stimulating the individual to breathe more deeply or wake up. This nervous system reaction is impaired in people with CCHS.

Treatment with mechanical ventilation

They must be supported with a machine to help them breathe (mechanical ventilation) or a device that stimulates a normal breathing pattern (diaphragm pacemaker). Some affected individuals need this support 24 hours a day, while others need it only at night.

Childhood CCHS

In children with CCHS, symptoms of CCHS usually become apparent shortly after birth when affected infants hypoventilate upon falling asleep. In these infants, a lack of oxygen in the blood often causes a bluish appearance of the skin or lips (cyanosis). In some milder cases, CCHS may not become apparent until later in life.

Cardiovascular abnormalities in CCHS

In addition to the breathing problem, people with CCHS may have difficulty regulating their heart rate and blood pressure, for example, in response to exercise or changes in body position. They also have decreased perception of pain, low body temperature, and occasional episodes of heavy sweating.

Digestive problems in CCHS

People with CCHS may have additional problems affecting the nervous system. About 20 percent of people with CCHS have abnormalities in the nerves that control the digestive tract (Hirschsprung disease), resulting in severe constipation, intestinal blockage, and enlargement of the colon.

Frequently asked questions - central hypoventilation

  • What is Ondine’s curse?
  • How rare is Cchs?
  • What is Odin’s curse?
  • Why is it called Ondine curse?
  • Can you die from forgetting to breathe?
  • Can a person forget to breathe while awake?
  • What is Haddad syndrome?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of hypoventilation?
  • How is hypoventilation treated?
  • Can Sleep Apnea kill you?
  • What is it called when you stop breathing while awake?
  • Why do I feel like I stop breathing in my sleep?
  • What is an early sign of hypoventilation?
  • What is the treatment for hypoventilation?
  • What are four signs of respiratory distress?
  • What are the common causes of hypoventilation?
  • How is hypoventilation diagnosed?
  • What are the effects of hypoventilation?
  • What can hypoventilation lead to?
  • What is shallow breathing a sign of?
  • How does hypoventilation affect pH?
  • How do you treat obesity hypoventilation syndrome?
  • What signs and symptoms would indicate inadequate breathing in a patient?
  • Can shallow breathing cause brain damage?
  • Can you hyperventilate without knowing it?
  • What causes alveolar hypoventilation?
  • Which is a characteristic of hypoventilation?
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