Rare Pulmonology News

Disease Profile

Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset






Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.

Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

CCHS; Idiopathic congenital central alveolar hypoventilation; Congenital failure of autonomic control;


Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Nervous System Diseases


Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system that affects breathing. It causes a person to hypoventilate (especially during sleep), resulting in a shortage of oxygen and a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. It have two forms of presentation, a classic form that usually begin shortly after birth in newborns, and a milder later-onset presentaition in toddlers, children and adults. Affected infants hypoventilate upon falling asleep and exhibit a bluish appearance of the skin or lips (cyanosis). Other features may include difficulty regulating heart rate and blood pressure; decreased perception of pain; low body temperature; sporadic profuse sweating; Hirschsprung disease; constipation; learning difficulties; eye abnormalities; and a characteristic facial appearance (having a short, wide, somewhat flattened face). They can also have tumors of neural crest origin, such as neuroblastoma, ganglioneuroblastoma, and ganglioneuroma. The later-onset form is milder, and some cases may present as infants and children who die suddenly and unexpectedly (“SIDS” and “sudden unexplained death of childhood [SUDC]”).[1]

CCHS is caused by a variation (mutation) in the PHOX2B gene and is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. However, over 90% of cases are due to a new mutation in the affected person and are not inherited from a parent. Diagnosis is made with the clinical symptoms and the genetic test showing the variation in the PHOX2B gene. Treatment typically includes mechanical ventilation or use of a diaphragm pacemaker.[2][1] People who have been diagnosed as newborns and adequately ventilated throughout childhood may reach the age of 20 to 30 years, and can live independently. In the later-onset form, people who were diagnosed when they were 20 years or older have now reached the age of 30 to 55 years.[1]


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Respiratory insufficiency
Respiratory impairment
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Aganglionic megacolon
Enlarged colon lacking nerve cells
Cognitive impairment
Abnormality of cognition
Cognitive abnormality
Cognitive defects
Cognitive deficits
Intellectual impairment
Mental impairment

[ more ]

Muscular hypotonia
Low or weak muscle tone
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Abnormality of temperature regulation
Poor temperature regulation
Abnormality of the cardiovascular system
Cardiovascular abnormality
Abnormality of the mouth
Abnormal mouth
Autosomal dominant inheritance
Central hypoventilation
Downslanted palpebral fissures
Downward slanting of the opening between the eyelids
Feeding difficulties
Feeding problems
Poor feeding

[ more ]

High blood carbon dioxide level
Excessive sweating
Increased sweating
Profuse sweating
Sweating profusely
Sweating, increased

[ more ]

Slow breathing
Under breathing

[ more ]

Low blood oxygen level
Low-set ears
Low set ears
Lowset ears

[ more ]

Posteriorly rotated ears
Ears rotated toward back of head


The resources below provide information about treatment options for this condition. If you have questions about which treatment is right for you, talk to your healthcare professional.

Management Guidelines

  • Project OrphanAnesthesia is a project whose aim is to create peer-reviewed, readily accessible guidelines for patients with rare diseases and for the anesthesiologists caring for them. The project is a collaborative effort of the German Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Orphanet, the European Society of Pediatric Anesthesia, anesthetists and rare disease experts with the aim to contribute to patient safety.


    Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

    Organizations Providing General Support

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

      • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
      • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

        In-Depth Information

        • GeneReviews provides current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text articles describing the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions.
        • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
        • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
        • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
        • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


          1. Debra E Weese-Mayer, Mary L Marazita, Casey M Rand, and Elizabeth M Berry-Kravis. Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome. GeneReviews. January 30, 2014; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1427/.
          2. Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. Genetics Home Reference. September 2008; https://www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/congenital-central-hypoventilation-syndrome.

          Rare Pulmonology News