Sleep hypoventilation is seen in patients with neuromuscular disease, as well as in those with obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS), which is defined as the combination of obesity, chronic hypercapnia, and hypoxemia during wakefulness that is aggravated during sleep. In 90% of cases, OHS is accompanied by obstructive sleep apnea. The diagnosis of OHS is based on hypoventilation and pulmonary hypertension that cannot be explained by alterations in pulmonary function. The mortality of patients with OHS is greater than is that of obese patients without hypoventilation. The principal neuromuscular diseases associated with OHS are the muscular dystrophies. The progression to chronic respiratory failure results from respiratory muscle weakness and impaired airway secretion clearance, causing atelectasis and pneumonia. With a decrease of greater than 50% in respiratory muscle strength, there is a reduction in VC. Cough peak flow < 160 L/min is associated with impaired airway secretion clearance, and values near 270 L/min indicate the need for assisted cough techniques. Obstructive sleep apnea usually worsens sleep hypoventilation. Noninvasive ventilation during sleep can improve survival, symptoms, and hypoventilation during wakefulness, as well as being able to improve pulmonary function in patients with neuromuscular disease. Patients with OHS can require oxygen therapy.
Obesity hypoventilation syndrome; Neuromuscular diseases; Muscular dystrophies; Hypoventilation; Hypercapnia; Sleep apnea, obstructive