How do chest wall deformities cause hypoventilation?

Updated: Jul 22, 2021
  • Author: Jazeela Fayyaz, DO; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

In patients with chest wall deformities, hypoventilation develops secondary to decreased chest wall compliance, with a resultant decreased tidal volume. Alveolar dead space is unchanged, but the VD/VT ratio is increased due to the reduced tidal volume.

The most common chest wall abnormality to cause hypoventilation is kyphoscoliosis. It is associated with a decrease in vital capacity and expiratory reserve volume, while the residual volume is only moderately reduced. These patients usually are asymptomatic until the late stages of disease, when the most severe deformity of the spine has occurred.


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