Congenital Central Alveolar Hypoventilation Syndrome is a sleep disorder that affects newborns and young babies. This is a rare disorder that involves a baby taking erratic breaths during sleep, or not breathing at all for sporadic periods while sleeping.
Obviously this can be a very dangerous sleep disorder and it needs to be treated by a qualified doctor, preferably a doctor that is familiar with infant lung function as well as pediatric sleep disorders.
A baby diagnosed with Congenital Central Alveolar Hypoventilation Syndrome will probably need to be fitted with a breathing machine. The machine will need to be used by the baby while sleeping just to make sure the baby keeps breathing an acceptable pattern of breaths during periods of sleep. Without this machine, a baby with this sleep disorder might stop breathing altogether, leading to fatal consequences.
Not an Apnea
This rare sleep disorder is different from sleep apnea, and does not pertain to adults. Babies who have Congenital Central Alveolar Hypoventilation may have difficulties with breathing while awake during periods of illness, but this is still considered a sleep disorder because the predominant problem arises during periods of sleep.
This syndrome needs to be treated, and this is why it is so important for parents to approach their doctor with any concerns or observations. If parents notice that their baby seems to not take very deep breaths, or goes through times of not taking any breaths at all, this needs to be brought to the attention of the doctor immediately.
There are no defining factors of which infants will be born with this sleep disorder because research has not yet proven if one gender or race is more prone to this problem. In other words, no study has ever demonstrated a link between this sleep disorder and a higher instance of occurrence with one race or gender over another.
For this reason, it is assumed that all babies are at risk for this sleep disorder, although it is so rare that it is not something that doctors caution their patients about.
When infants with Congenital Central Alveolar Hypoventilation Syndrome are born, they sometimes display symptoms of the disorder right away. Astute doctors know that a newborn who cannot breathe well or who needs assistance with breathing may have this disorder and also know that the disorder may not go away immediately.
Treatment is Vital
This is not a sleep disorder that can be ignored. When a baby does not have the proper capacity to breathe correctly while sleeping or while awake, yet ill then this makes for a very dangerous situation.
This is why babies with this sleep disorder must have proper assistance through a breathing machine while sleeping in addition to being closely monitored.
Parents will be happy to know that infants generally outgrow this problem, and it does not reoccur in adolescence or adulthood. Babies will need assistance with breathing for a while, but then their lungs and neurological system will develop to a point to where no assistance is needed during sleep at all.