It’s not as bad as you think…. unless you have Ondine’s Curse?

So, during my studies and class this week we were discussing Brain Death Protocols. That’s there is ‘dead’ and there is “DEAD’.

Through discussing the diagnosis we talked about Ondine’s Curse:

Primary alveolar hypoventilation – PubMed Health:



“Primary alveolar hypoventilation 

Last reviewed: September 17, 2010.

Primary alveolar hypoventilation is a rare disorder of unknown cause in which a person does not take enough breaths per minute. The lungs and airways are normal. Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Normally, when the oxygen levels in the blood are low or the carbon dioxide levels are high, there is a signal from the brain to breathe more deeply or more quickly. In people with primary alveolar hypoventilation, this change in breathing does not happen.

The cause of primary alveolar hypoventilation is unknown. Some patients have a specific genetic defect.

The disease mainly affects men 20 to 50 years old, although it may also occur in young boys. Symptoms

Symptoms are usually worse during sleep, and periods of apnea (episodes of stopped breathing) are usually present. Often patients themselves do not complain of shortness of breath during the day.

Symptoms include:

Bluish coloration of the skin caused by lack of oxygen

Daytime drowsiness



Morning headaches

Swelling of the ankles

Waking up from sleep unrested

Waking up many times at night

Persons with this disease are extremely sensitive to even small doses of sedatives or narcotics, which can make their already inadequate breathing much worse.”


The next time you think you got it bad… at least you have the ability to breathe without thinking about it. Just imagine…. sleeping would take on a whole new definition in your life.