Rapid-onset obesity with hypothalamic dysfunction, hypoventilation, and autonomic dysregulation (ROHHAD): Response to ventilatory challenges

Michael S. Carroll*, Pallavi P. Patwari, Anna S. Kenny, Cindy D. Brogadir, Tracey M. Stewart, Debra E. Weese-Mayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Summary Hypoventilation is a defining feature of Rapid-onset Obesity with Hypothalamic dysfunction, Hypoventilation and Autonomic Dysregulation (ROHHAD), a rare respiratory and autonomic disorder. This chronic hypoventilation has been explained as the result of dysfunctional chemosensory control circuits, possibly affecting peripheral afferent input, central integration, or efferent motor control. However, chemosensory function has never been quantified in a cohort of ROHHAD patients. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the response to awake ventilatory challenge testing in children and adolescents with ROHHAD. The ventilatory, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular responses in 25 distinct comprehensive physiological recordings from seven unique ROHHAD patients to three different gas mixtures were analyzed at breath-to-breath and beat-to-beat resolution as absolute measures, as change from baseline, or with derived metrics. Physiologic measures were recorded during a 3-min baseline period of room air, a 3-min gas exposure (of 100% O2; 95% O2, 5% CO2; or 14% O2, 7% CO2 balanced with N2), and a 3-min recovery period. An additional hypoxic challenge was conducted which consisted of either five or seven tidal breaths of 100% N2. While ROHHAD cases showed a diminished VT and inspiratory drive response to hypoxic hypercapnia and absent behavioral awareness of the physiologic compromise, most ventilatory, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular measures were similar to those of previously published controls using an identical protocol, suggesting a mild chemosensory deficit. Nonetheless, the high mortality rate, comorbidity and physiological fragility of patients with ROHHAD demand continued clinical vigilance. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015; 50:1336-1345.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1336-1345
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • critical care
  • ventilatory challenges

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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