Un-diagonosed Sleep Apnea : A few months ago... - AF Association

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Un-diagonosed Sleep Apnea


A few months ago I posted a question about high blood pressure at night and getting up 4 or 5 times a night for the toilet. I have had PAF for 7 years and was changed to Sotalol following a couple of Cardioversions three years ago. I went to my doctors about 2 years ago concerned with my night time toilet visits, the prostate was checked and ok so it was suggested I took medication to control my bladder but declined as I am also on Rivaroxaban and Atorastations. I felt something wasn't right so when I woke up during the night I started to check my blood pressure and it was always high 160/88 42 ish ( normal for me is 125/75/52) , I went to see the doctor after one night it was 192/98/52 but of course when I went it was normal. I went back again as I wasn't happy and she suggested doubling my Sotalol from 80mg twice a day to 160mg , I declined and we agree on the absolute minimum of 40mg extra at night. At that point I gave up checking my night time pressures as it became too much, hoping it had done the trick, however I was still getting up. Someone on this site suggested I might have sleep apnea, to be honest something I had never really heard of and certainly wasn't suggested or mentioned, maybe because I am fairly fit, 64 yrs 5'7" and 77kg and eat well. Anyway, I went for the test and was told I was experiencing 68 episodes an hour which was classified as severe with 5 being the recommended safe level. I was duly kitted out for a Cpap machine two weeks ago. I had an appointment yesterday with a new cardiologist who seemed rather stunned that my sleep apnea hadn't been picked up and said that it was obvious what had been causing my PAF all these years and was optimistic that once I had conquered the mask etc I would be able to get off my medication. Firstly I am eternally grateful to the member who made the suggestion about getting the apnea checked and secondly I hope by sharing my experience someone else can be helped in the same way. Thanks for this site x

12 Replies

Well done. Don't forget that AF makes us P a lot anyway. Another things nobody tells us.

in reply to BobD

Thanks, BobD for your encouragement, means a lot.

Excellent news and thank you for sharing this. I hope your sleep and your health generally improve with the treatment. Well done for following it up.

Thank you Finvola, I am determined to let the machine do its part and I am gradually getting used to breathing in and out through my nose which was hard at first.

I just had to join this community to reply to you Rubymurray25, as I spotted your post and am so pleased to hear your sleep apnoea has been picked up. I run the Hope2Sleep Charity for sleep apnoea, and it is very common with A Fib and you'll find lots of articles and research (like this one) on the internet healthblog.uofmhealth.org/h... I'm no expert on AF, but lots of the articles state the half of people with AF have sleep apnoea, and treating it improves it. I hope you find this is the case too.

Many thanks indeed for taking the time to reply and for the link. If you need any updates for research please feel free to contact me. What a great charity you run as we all need the hope to sleep well!

Last night was my 13th night on my machine and the best yet after a shaky start so my confidence is building. Kind regards Max

You're welcome Max. I struggled tremendously with my CPAP in the early days... Back when there was no UK support, hence the start of the charity.

We give free support so never hesitate to contact us. We have a newsletter list you'll find a link to on the website and have a forum and large private Facebook Group. Meanwhile see this article for any problems that could come up hope2sleep.co.uk/tips-for-p...

You're doing well to cope with your CPAP with you getting it during this spell of hot nights 👍

My husband has a cpap machine and the nurse said when explaining it that he would find he doesn't have to pee as much overnight. He is in permanent AF and like you no medic suggested sleep apnoea might be a problem.

Hi Bagrat,

Following my post, I had a reply as above from Kath from the Hope2sleep charity who kindly attached a link and it states : "After diagnosing a patient with atrial fibrillation, a doctor might recommend testing for obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA

The reason: “Obstructive sleep apnea is highly associated with atrial fibrillation,” says Krit Jongnarangsin, M.D., an electrophysiologist at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center."

Must be more of an American thing, shame it isn't adhered too over here!

Last night was my 13th night on the machine and i was only up once in the night ( 8hrs sleep also a record ) , and my episode recording went down from the initial 68 per hour to 6.8 literially a 90% improvement , long may it last. DO hope your husband is having success. Kind regards

Congrats sounds like your perseverance is paying off and thanks for posting, I am sure it will help a lot of people.

My sleep test was 9 every hour and I was told this was borderline and currently at Guildford, Surrey they did't recommend treatment at this level. I have found wearing a nasal strip at night a great help - maybe without it I would have more apnea episodes per hour. I would also add I have read that it is important re AF to breathe through your nose, I may not have recalled this 100% correctly but nose breathing create nitrous oxide which helps the heart to avoid AF - for me the upper nasal passages are quite narrow & I blow my nose more than I should have to, again there is a condition off the top of my head it is called Upper Respiratory......

Please keep us updated with any tips on how you got used to the machine, I will be having an apnea retest in 12 months and may need one.

Sorry , also forgot to add in my earlier post, I get the impression many people think in most cases there is only one cause of AF and when it is addressed they get confused as AF doesn't go away completely. I believe in most cases there is multiple causes e.g. apnea, stress, diet, lack of vitamins, hereditary...I could go on. I think therefore to loose AF completely (and assuming you act early enough) you will often have to address multiple issues at the same time.

Hi Secondtry, Good that you are able to control your sleep apnea with the strips. I totally agree with there being more cause for AF and I am sure mine isn't all down to the sleep apnea I guess only time will tell. I did originally have an angiogram and it did show a 30% level of furring which I am lead to believe is not a huge level if controlled with statins. I also agree with stress, diet and lack of vitamins all of which I really addressed after having the angiogram result. I would never really criticise the NHS as they have always been there for me and I have meet some amazing people, my frustration is that sleep apnea was never mentioned.

Good luck with your next apnea test.

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