Congenital Central Alveolar Hypoventilation Syndrome: a rare condition affecting infants. It occurs when they take small, shallow breaths or simply do not breathe at all. Oxygen levels may decline. Some babies will only experience this condition from time to time, while others will experience it all of the time. Very often, it occurs only during sleep. Babies with this syndrome must be properly diagnosed. Treatment involves sleeping with a breathing machine. (See also Children and Sleep.)

Hypoventilation/Hypoxemia Due to Lower Airways Obstruction: the inability of the lungs to properly exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide during sleep. It is caused by a reduction or narrowing of the size of the airway, or by a resistance to proper airflow. People with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis and any other lung disease that causes a lower airway obstruction are most likely to develop this problem. Treating the lower airway obstruction is important. CPAP or BPAP therapy, or the use of oxygen at night may also help.

Hypoventilation/Hypoxemia Due to Neuromuscular and Chest Wall Disorders: the inability to breathe deeply enough during sleep to maintain normal oxygen levels. It is due to an abnormal spine, chest wall or neuromuscular disorder, such as muscular dystrophy. Spinal abnormalities should be surgically corrected, or braced at night, if possible. Oxygen therapy or the use of a BPAP machine during sleep is often necessary.

Hypoventilation/Hypoxemia Due to Pulmonary Parenchymal or Vascular Pathology: decreased oxygen levels during sleep due to a disease of the lung tissue or blood vessels. People with sickle cell anemia or interstitial pneumonitis are most likely to develop this. It is imperative to treat the underlying condition with appropriate medication or other therapies. Oxygen therapy or the use of a CPAP machine during sleep may be necessary.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in Children: reductions in breathing (hypopneas) or complete pauses in breathing (apneas) that occur when airway muscles relax during the sleep of children. Children with OSA often have enlarged tonsils or adenoids. They snore loudly, sleep in unusual positions, and appear to have trouble breathing. Even brief episodes can reduce oxygen levels. Untreated OSA in children may lead to developmental delays. Adenotonsillectomy to remove tonsils, adenoids and related tissue is the most common and effective treatment. (See also Children and Sleep.)

Non-Obstructive Alveolar Hypoventilation, Idiopathic: reduced breathing volume during sleep and at times during wakefulness. It is a rare condition that reduces oxygen levels at night. However, it is not related to obesity, an obstruction, or a medical problem. It is more common in people who use sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications, pain killers, and alcohol. Treatment may involve the use of oxygen or bi-bap therapy at night.

Primary Sleep Apnea of Infancy: pauses or reductions in breathing that occur the during sleep of infants. Premature infants or those with brain injuries tends to develop Mixed Sleep Apnea, which involves a combination of OSA and central sleep apnea. Older infants tend to develop central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs when the body diminishes or stops its “effort” to breathe. The hypoxemias or reduced oxygen levels that result are very dangerous to babies. A breathing machine or medications may be necessary until the infant outgrows symptoms. (See also Children and Sleep.)

Suggested Downlaods

Sleep Breathing Disorders
Home Sleep Test
Additional Sleep-Breathing Disorders
Physical Illness or Injury
Drugs and Sleep