Which neuromuscular disorders are associated with hypoventilation syndrome?

Updated: Jul 22, 2021
  • Author: Jazeela Fayyaz, DO; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Neuromuscular diseases that can cause alveolar hypoventilation include myasthenia gravis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and muscular dystrophy. Patients with neuromuscular disorders have rapid, shallow breathing secondary to severe muscle weakness or abnormal motor neuron function.

The central respiratory drive is maintained in patients with neuromuscular disorders. Thus, hypoventilation is secondary to respiratory muscle weakness. Patients with neuromuscular disorders have nocturnal desaturations that are most prevalent in the REM stage of sleep. The degree of nocturnal desaturation is correlated with the degree of diaphragm dysfunction. The nocturnal desaturations may precede the onset of daytime hypoventilation and gas exchange abnormalities.

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