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Emerg Med J. 2010 Mar;27(3):237-8. doi: 10.1136/emj.2009.072215.

An unusual presentation of congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (Ondine's Curse).

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  • 1Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome is a rare illness, which classically presents in the neonatal period; newborns present with shallow breathing and cyanosis, without a physiological rise in breathing rate. Incidence has been estimated from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 200,000 live births. This case report describes the case of a young man who was asymptomatic until his presentation in acute respiratory failure at the age of 36 years. This case is reported to highlight the importance of considering this treatable illness as a potential cause of collapse and respiratory failure in adults presenting to emergency departments.

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