Custom Search


Curse of a jilted lover -

A Pulmonary Disease.

"Ondine's curse"


Dr Sampurna Roy  MD



                         Home       Previous Posts



 "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"

"Ondine's curse" is derived from an old European folk tale.

Ondine (also known as "Undine") a mythological character, is a beautiful water nymph who could become human only when she fell in love with a mortal man.  

However, if her lover was unfaithful to her, he was destined to die according to her curse. Ondine's lover betrayed her and to punish him she cursed him with an inability to breathe. This was known as the "Ondine's curse"

The legend became popular as a fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen.

Value of chemicals in medicine became recognized in 16th  century through the work of Paracelsus a Swiss physician and alchemist.

He introduced the term "Undine" to describe the spirit that inhabited the element of water.

The term "Ondine's Curse" was first applied to patients by Severinghaus and Mitchel in 1962.

Central congenital hypoventilation syndrome (Ondine's curse) is a clinical condition that is characterized by respiratory arrest during sleep.

The patient is unable to breath normally.

There is persistent sleep hypoventilation without primary cardiac, pulmonary disease or neuromuscular dysfunction and no arousal response to hypoxemia and hypercapnia.

Central congenital hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) usually noted in infants, is a neurocristopathy (failure of migration or differentiation of neural crest-derived precursor cells).

Mutations in the PHOX2B gene have been indentified in 93-100% of patients with CCHS.

Central alveolar hypoventilation (CAH) syndrome is primarily seen in adults and is due to brainstem ischemia, tumour mass, infection, demyelinating disease, or anoxic-ischemic damage.

Top three 3 reasons the fairy tale of "Ondine's Curse" is completely outdated and misleading in today's day and age:

1) Cursing is bad manners and any kind of death threat is a legal offence.

2) Cheating and infidelity is common across culture. If someone breaks a vow just leave him. Cursing is a waste of time and energy.

3) If your significant other betrays you, just replace him with someone better. That is the rule of the game.


Further reading:

PHOX2B mutation in a Taiwanese newborn with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome

Central alveolar hypoventilation (Ondine's curse) caused by megadolichobasilar artery.

Retracing "Ondine's curse".

In Search of Ondine's Curse

Who was Ondine and what was his curse?

Ondine curse and neurocristopathy.

Late onset Ondine syndrome: literature review on a case report.

Impetigo herpetiformis and Ondine curse.


                     Home       Previous Posts



Dr  Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)







Infectious Disease Online


Pathology Quiz Online 


Paediatric Pathology Online


Pancreatic Pathology Online




Endocrine Pathology Online


Eye Pathology Online


Ear Pathology Online


Cardiac Path Online


Pulmonary Pathology Online


Lung Tumour Online




Nutritional Pathology Online


Environmental Pathology Online


Soft Tissue Tumour Online


GI Path Online-India


Gallbladder Pathology Online


E-book - History of Medicine  


Microscope - Seeing the Unseen





Privacy Policy  

Advertising Policy

Copyright 2017