Hypoventilation is breathing that is too shallow or too slow to meet the needs of the body.
If a person hypoventilates, the body's carbon dioxide level rises. This causes a buildup of acid and too little oxygen in the blood.
A person with hypoventilation might feel sleepy.
Powell FL, Wagner PD, West JB. Ventilation, blood flow, and gas exchange. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 4.
Review Date 2/7/2019
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.