Detection of early nocturnal hypoventilation in neuromuscular disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective Nocturnal hypoventilation (NH) is a complication of respiratory involvement in neuromuscular disorders (NMD) that can evolve into symptomatic daytime hypercapnia if not treated proactively with non-invasive ventilation. This study aimed to assess whether NH can be detected in the absence of other signs of nocturnal altered gas exchange. Methods We performed nocturnal transcutaneous coupled (tc) pCO2/SpO2monitoring in 46 consecutive cases of paediatric-onset NMD with a restrictive respiratory defect (forced vital capacity < 60%). Nocturnal hypoventilation was defined as tcPCO2 > 50 mmHg for > 25% of recorded time, and hypoxemia as tcSpO2 < 88% for > 5 minutes. Daytime symptoms and bicarbonate were recorded after overnight monitoring. Results Twenty-nine of 46 consecutive patients showed NH. Twenty-three patients did not have nocturnal hypoxemia and 18 were clinically asymptomatic. In 20 patients, PaCO2in daytime blood samples was normal. Finally, 13/29 patients with NH had isolated nocturnal hypercapnia without nocturnal hypoxia, clinical NH symptoms, or daytime hypercapnia. Conclusions Paediatric patients with NMD can develop NH in the absence of clinical symptoms or significant nocturnal desaturation. Therefore, monitoring of NH should be included among nocturnal respiratory assessments of these patients as an additional tool to determine when to commence non-invasive ventilation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1161
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of International Medical Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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