Ondine's curse, the failure of automatic control of ventilation during sleep,1 has been reported following lesions of the brain stem and cervicomedullary junction.1-3 Although the brain-stem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) of two patients who were afflicted with Ondine's curse were evaluated, repeated recordings were not obtained after this central sleep apnea syndrome resolved.4 We describe the abnormal BAEPs in an alcoholic patient who recovered from Ondine's curse.
REPORT OF A CASE
A 53-year-old woman, admitted with recent onset of dyspnea and chest pain, had nutritional anemia and cirrhosis of the liver secondary to chronic alcohol abuse. Two years before admission, diabetes with peripheral neuropathy and retinopathy had developed. On admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), no evidence of myocardial infarction was found. On the fourth hospital day, respiratory failure developed while our patient was asleep, and mechanical ventilation using the intermittent mandatory ventilation mode was initiated.
Long KJ, Allen N. Abnormal Brain-Stem Auditory Evoked Potentials Following Ondine's Curse. Arch Neurol. 1984;41(10):1109-1110. doi:10.1001/archneur.1984.04050210111028