Blunted respiratory drive in congenital myopathy

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      Two patients with clinically mild congenital myopathies presented with chronic respiratory failure. Muscle weakness alone could not account for the respiratory insufficiency since static respiratory pressures were not markedly impaired, ventilation during exercise was normal, and daytime ventilation was normal if ventilatory assistance was provided at night. The ventilatory responses to inhaled carbon dioxide were very low, suggesting that impairment of the central nervous respiratory chemoreceptor contributed to hypoventilation. These patients and others described in the literature suggest that central depression of ventilation may occur more frequently than previously recognized in patients with muscular disorders. Patients with chronic respiratory failure due to central depression of respiratory drive can be effectively managed by assisted ventilation at night.
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