Waking gasping for breath!

Hello to all,

I had an av node ablation January of 2014 and the result is a much better quality of life. Several weeks ago I awakened at night with shortness of breath I sat up and every and everything returned to normal this occurred several times over the next couple of week. I do take Lasix and potasium and there were times I missed a dose. I have been more diligent since then and have not missed a dose and for a time there were no episodes of gasping for breath that is until the last two nights. Has anyone experienced these kind of episodes at night and if so what if anything did you do? I know this is something that I need to discuss with a Dr. I have an appointment next week with my EP and hopefully there is a remedy for this I am taking 20mg of Lasix there is a 40mg and it maybe that I need the higher dose.


13 Replies

  • Please let me know how you get on when you speak to your EP, I've had this myself and it's very frightening. I haven't done anything about it and I'm not sure why it happened, I thought maybe my heart rate was low but also I wondered about my blood pressure as I was quite dizzy too, I did find it didn't take long for my heart to feel normal again but as I said it was an awful experience.

    I actually wondered if it was something I'd eaten too.

    Anyway I hope you get some answers.

    All the best


  • I will do that.

  • Just a thought but is there a possibility that it could be Sleep Apnea that you are experiencing ?

  • Sounds like it to me Carol. Sleep apnea and AF often go hand in hand.

  • I did look into that and snoring is one of the symptons of apnea and my wife says I don not snore.

  • If I lie on my back whilst asleep I'll suddenly wake up having 'stopped' breathing. Sleep apnea was the problem. Have a word with your GP who can refer you to a sleep clinic at your local hospital.

  • HI Jen,

    The only problem with the Sleep Apnea being diagnosed is that it is a condition which the GP has to report to the DVLA

    I suppose it depends on the severity of the condition also whether it can be controlled with self management ...Carol

  • Sadly the condition at its worst can kill when people go to sleep at the wheel. Hence DVLA but it's up to individuals to decide whether they want to get treatment depending on how it effects their life through lack of sleep. It's frightening how many people suffer from it but don't realise what the problem is and that they are waking so many times a night hence the tiredness during the day. I hope albyone has a chat to their GP to sort out the problem -AF is bad enough to cope with. Jenny

  • It is also a condition the the sufferer has to report to DVLA never mind the GP. Failure to do this will result in a £1000 minimum fine if found out even if you do survive the accident.

  • With Atrial Fibullation it is the patients reponsability to report the condition to DVLA also to car insurance company...But with Sleep Apnea the GP has to legally report to DVLA that there Patient has the condition so even if the Patient omits informing the DVLA the GP will have.

  • Hi Edward. I've had the same experience after ablation. It was scary

    then after sometime it was gone. I mention this to my GP which he found strange. Speak to your EP which he will know better.

    Best wishes.

  • Where do I start! I suddenly started getting this feeling that my body had shut down although everything was still functional. It is like somebody has stopped my breathing as I cannot swallow either. It used to cause me to panic until I realised that I should relax and breath through my nose. My throat would release after what is only a second or two and then I can swallow. I was sent to an ENT who could not find anything wrong but suggested it was probably due to 'reflux'. I was treated for reflux for a year and it did not help so was eventually taken off the Omeprazole.

    Here is the thing. I never suffered from this prior to being put on Amiodarone prior to my first ablation. I could get a few bouts of this whilst sitting upright watching TV but most of the time I would say that they are about 3 weeks apart and happen just at the point when I am about to drop off to sleep. You get an odd feeling in your subconciousness that wakes you up to the feeling that your body is shutting down and you cannot swallow. When they put me on an IV dose of Amiodarone prior to second ablation the frequency increased. I now get these events about once a month, still very frightening and although not as a rule, tends too be when you are really tired and have had a drink (1) of alcohol.

    I have discussed this on many occasions with my DR and I just get a blank look and a lack of concern. I once suggested 'sleep apnea' and was told that it wasn't.

    So, started following a dose of Amiodarone, stuck with it, and nobody knows what it is or if they do, are not saying.

    I would be interested to hear how you get on.

  • Thanks to all who have responded. I did not mention my other health problems such as "chronic diastolic cardiomyopathy" heart failure also I have a lung condition which is diagnosed as "COPD" my pulmonary Dr. has given me meds to treat this condition it is not emphysema (sp) which is not reverisble. I did some research on line and the waking at night gasping for air could be PND "paroxysmall nocturnal dyspnea" I could not find anything about whether or not this happens every night or is just random so far mine has been random. Because I have dyspnea related to my heart and lung problems my internal med Dr. rule out sleep apnea.

    I do not accept and any of the above as a diagnosis and will get back to you next Friday when I see my cardio Dr.

    I am 80 years young I don't think I mentioned that.

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