How are hypoventilation syndromes diagnosed?

Updated: Jul 22, 2021
  • Author: Jazeela Fayyaz, DO; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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A diagnosis of lung disease should not be assumed in patients with hypoventilation, because other organ system dysfunction may be the primary cause of the condition. Central and peripheral neurologic disorders and muscular disorders should be considered.

The effects of sedating drugs such as narcotics and benzodiazepines in causing or worsening hypoventilation should always be considered. In patients without an obvious source of hypoventilation, a drug screen should be performed.

Although the differential diagnosis for hypoventilation syndromes is broad, a thorough history, physical examination, and laboratory evaluation should be helpful in limiting it.

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