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AF Association
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Sleep apnoea, a trigger for AF

I would be interested to hear from those who believe that sleep apnoea has been a trigger for their AF, what they have done about it & what the outcomes were like.

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I am one of those lucky people who sleeps well BUT as I sometimes wake up with AF I am beginning to think that this may be a problem. As I have posted elsewhere I had a horrendous journey to see an EP last week and was so stressed by the time I arrived that it triggered an attack. I had not previously been able to identify triggers. I now know that I need to avoid stress if I want to feel remotely well.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I will try & remain positive & continue to move forward.

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Yes sleep apnoea is a known trigger. It is also another DVLA notifiable condition where you may not drive I believe.

Bob

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Just as well I am not in the UK then!

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From the Gov Site only need to inform them if it will affect your ability to drive!

Gov Site Info:

Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome and driving

You must tell DVLA if you have obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome or obstructive sleep apnoea (also known as sleep apnoea) with symptoms that affect your ability to drive safely.

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. You may be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result.

Ask your doctor or consultant if you’re not sure how your condition affects your ability to drive safely.

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I think the problem with identifying sleep apnoea is that you're asleep when it happens. How anyone figures out they have it, short of going to one of these sleep clinics and being monitored (and then how do they sleep?)... But as Bob says it's supposed to be a trigger. Mind you a lot of people with AF get it in the night, I do mainly. Who knows...

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Thanks for your comments, I know that I definitely have sleep aponea. Plans are to tackle this problem and, perhaps, eliminate one of the triggers.

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You're very lucky it's been identified. I hope that if it's treated it also helps your AF.

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If, while driving, you pass out and kill yourself (and perhaps others), it doesn't really matter where you live does it?

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Not such a great problem with me as I am not affected whilst driving.

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I was widowed in December, after caring for my husband for many months; I have episodes of AF even 'though my medication is fine and my p/maker works well; Since being on my own i find I have minor AF when I am most vulnerable ie; I have a big decision to make or arriving home to an empty house on a dark and windy night, maybe the phone ringing at an unusual time, so I believe that stress has a major part to play in the 'trigger' debate.

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Thank you for sharing those personal thoughts it all helps me.

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Good question.

My first (and only episode so far) of AF came during sleep.

For a number of years I have been waking up occasionally for gasping for breath and/or aspirating saliva. This does not happen me every night, but it's not unusual for me.

I spoke to my GP about this and he said that because I was slim and fit, that I was not a typical candidate for sleep apnoea, and hence it hasn't been investigated further.

When I has my first episode of AFib I saw my cardiologist who wasn't entirely aware of the possible link between apnoea and Afib - and I've never really explored it further.

I know when I have been having episodes of sleep apnoea, however, because I wake up unrefreshed, I toss and turn a lot and wake up with a 'skipping' heart beat.

So, to answer your question, I have occasional apnoea, and have not been given any formal diagnosis or treatment but remain convinced that it triggered my Afib episode.

R

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Good comments thanks Romeo. I weigh ~73kgs & am quite fit. Like you I sometimes wake up with a start gasping for air.

If for no other reason than to get a good nights sleep I am going to address the aponea issue. Hopefully it will remove one of the AF triggers. I will post the outcome here when it's done.

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Hi

I have persistent AF and sleep apnoea, I do use a mask. I have looked into this and there is very little solid information. From my Cardio's side it seems to be that the AF influences the apnoea, rather than the apnoea causing the AF. People do suffer from sleep apnoea without the heart problems. Even wide awake I will gulp air several times a day, same as in a sleep apnoea situation.

I self monitor my heart beats with my own portable checker. On occasion it registers a missed beat, this could account for the daytime events.

Regards, Ken.

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Thsnks Ken.

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Very good question I was diagnosed with AF in 1992 ( hope to have a pace and ablate this year) but have also a lung condition and a few other problems. I have spells of waking gasping for breath and I am going to have a monitor attached for when I am asleep at home. From the leaflet they gave me it looks like an oxymeter attached to my finger and then a box attached to my wrist. However I was also asked my collar size? To make me tired out I am also having a full Lung function test! My doctors spirometry test showed I had Restrictive Lung Disease with a lung capacity of 53% and O2 on exercise below 80%. Which explains why I get out of breath so easily.

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Just read about the French monitoring patients with sleep apnoea syndrome remotely (usually via internet) in The Guardian Weekly of 24.l.2014, the original article was in Le Monde, I suppose there is a way to read it on the internet.

I was interested in Ken's gulping as I sometimes used to have to tell myself to breathe during the day, before I had any treatment for AF, I just felt as if I wasn't breathing nothing like holding your breath. Pauline

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I have sleep apnoea and wear a mask at night. I was diagnosed last year but have ni idea how long I have had it. Have had PAF for more than 10 years. It is usually over weight people that are prone to it.

Eileen

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Thanks Eileen, I'm not overweight but I used to be perhaps there's a connection?

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Hi,I was diagnosed with AF after l developed a blood clot in my left eye about 3yrs ago,about 2yrs before that,after a long period of being knackered during the day and holding down a very physical job,l attended an overnight sleep clinic and was told l woke up on average 26 times an hour.This,l'm told,gives the heart a very hard time and was probably a factor.l now wear cpap machine every night,what a revelation!l l was pretty fit at that time,although l did drink a little too much,another major factor to both conditions,so,l hardly touch a drop now.l'm feeling good these days.touch wood.

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Well done & thanks for responding!

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