JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Obesity hypoventilation syndrome: from sleep-disordered breathing to systemic comorbidities and the need to offer combined treatment strategies

Jean-Christian Borel, Anne-Laure Borel, Denis Monneret, Renaud Tamisier, Patrick Levy, Jean-Louis Pepin
Respirology: Official Journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology 2012, 17 (4): 601-10
22122014
Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) is defined as a combination of obesity (body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m(2)), daytime hypercapnia (partial arterial carbon dioxide concentration ≥45 mm Hg) and sleep-disordered breathing after ruling out other disorders that may cause alveolar hypoventilation. Through the prism of the International Classification of Functioning, OHS is a chronic condition associated with respiratory, metabolic, hormonal and cardiovascular impairments, leading to a decrease in daily life activities, a lack of social participation and high risk of hospitalization and death. Despite its severity, OHS is largely underdiagnosed and the health-related costs are higher than those of apnoeic or obese eucapnic patients. The present review discusses the definition, epidemiology, physiopathology and treatment modalities of OHS. Although nocturnal positive airway pressure therapies represent first-line treatment and are effective in improving patient outcomes, there is a need to offer combined treatment strategies and to assess the effect of multimodal therapeutic strategies on morbidity and mortality.

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