Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2022 Jun;29(1):4-8. 10.14401/KASMED.2022.29.1.4.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment Strategies of Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome

  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Eunpyeong St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea


Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) is defined as the triad of obesity (body mass index, [BMI] ≥ 30 kg/m 2 ), daytime hypercapnia (PaCO2 ≥ 45 mm Hg), and sleep breathing disorder, after excluding other causes for hypoventilation. As the obese population increases worldwide, the prevalence of OHS is also on the rise. Patients with OHS have poor quality of life, high risk of frequent hospitalization and increased cardiopulmonary mortality. However, most patients with OHS remain undiagnosed and untreated. The diagnosis typically occurs during the 5th and 6th decades of life and frequently first diagnosed in emergency rooms as a result of acute-on-chronic hypercapnic respiratory failure. Due to the high mortality rate in patients with OHS who do not receive treatment or have developed respiratory failure, early recognition and effective treatment is essential for improving outcomes. Positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy including continuous PAP (CPAP) or noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is the primary management option for OHS. Changes in lifestyle, rehabilitation program, weight loss and bariatric surgery should be also considered.


Hypercapnia; Hypoventilation; Noninvasive ventilation; Obesity hypoventilation syndrome; Sleep breathing disorder
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