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Primary alveolar hypoventilation

  • Definition

    Primary alveolar hypoventilation is a rare disorder of unknown cause in which a person does not take enough breaths per minute. The lungs and airways are normal.

    Alternative Names

    Ondine's curse

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Normally, when the oxygen levels in the blood are low or the carbon dioxide levels are high, there is a signal from the brain to breathe more deeply or more quickly. In people with primary alveolar hypoventilation, this change in breathing does not happen.

    The cause of primary alveolar hypoventilation is unknown. Some patients have a specific genetic defect.

    The disease mainly affects men 20 to 50 years old, although it may also occur in young boys.