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Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome: a life-threatening cause of neonatal apnoea
  1. Carolina Castro1,
  2. Cláudia Correia2,
  3. Teresa Martins3 and
  4. Alexandrina Portela3
  1. 1Pediatrics, Hospital Pedro Hispano, Matosinhos, Portugal
  2. 2Pediatrics, Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Porto EPE Centro Materno-Infantil do Norte Dr Albino Aroso, Porto, Portugal
  3. 3Neonatology, Hospital Pedro Hispano, Matosinhos, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Carolina Castro; carolina.coelhodecastro{at}


Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) is an uncommon genetic disease characterised by an autonomic nervous system dysfunction that affects ventilatory homeostasis. Involvement of other systems is also described, mainly cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. We describe a rare case of CCHS diagnosed in a term newborn who presented with persistent apnoea in the first hours of life. After an exhaustive aetiological study excluding primary pulmonary, cardiac, metabolic and neurological diseases, this diagnosis was confirmed by a paired-like homeobox 2B gene sequence analysis. During hospitalisation, ventilation was optimised and multidisciplinary follow-up was initiated, including genetic counselling. At 2 months old, the child was discharged under non-invasive ventilation during sleep. This case illustrates the importance of early diagnosis, including genetic study and advances in home ventilation. These factors allow early hospital discharge and timely multidisciplinary intervention, which is crucial for patients’ quality of life and outcome optimisation.

  • congenital disorders
  • neonatal and paediatric intensive care

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  • Contributors CCa and CCo were responsible for the bibliographical search, manuscript drafting, critical revision and final approval of the submitted manuscript. TM and AP were involved in patient care and also contributed to the manuscript’s writing and editing, critical revision and final approval of the submitted manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.