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May 1959

Central Neurogenic Hyperventilation in Man

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology, University of Washington School of Medicine.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(5):535-549. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340170001001

Centrally caused respiratory facilitation was first suggested to us by the unusually heavy breathing of several patients recovering from the effects of transient exposures to acute anoxia. There was no carboxyhemoglobin, persisting anoxemia, cardiac disease, or pulmonary abnormality to stimulate a compensatory hyperpnea; yet several overbreathed themselves into clinical tetany while still in deep coma. Subsequently, the same respiratory pattern was observed in patients with hypoglycemia, severe head injuries, and acute cerebral vascular lesions. Several of these patients were in younger age groups and were completely free of cardiopulmonary disease. Autopsies showed severe brain stem changes, but either the lesions were too diffuse to afford specific conclusions on the neuroanatomy involved or the respiratory changes had not been quantitated adequately. Descriptions of "forced," "heavy," or "stertorous" breathing in the case reports of patients with fulminating meningitis,1,2 basilar artery thrombosis,3,4 pontile hemorrhage,5 and encephalitis6 supported the impression

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