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Sleep apnea and afib
Sleep apnea and afib
I've recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea and have been in and out of afib since October (maybe longer but that was when diagnosed). I just started using my apap last week and I'm working away on using it consistently. I went into a normal heart rhythm for about 3 days and back to afib.

This is all very new to me and pretty scary.

Anyone had success with afib improving with apnea therapy?
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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
I had AFIB and had a cardiac ablation last year that put my heart back into sync- at least for now. I have been on CPAP for over five years now and that doesn’t seem to have any effect one way or the other on my heart rhythm.
I’ve never heard of CPAP control in heart rhythm but I really haven’t looked into it either. I think it’s likely however that you will have to do something more than just CPAP to deal with the afib
"Sometimes the magic works . . . and sometimes it doesn't" -- Chief Dan George in the movie Little Big Man
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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
I was diagnosed with AFIB, I believe in June of 2018. Approx. three weeks later, I underwent a CardioVersion. I only had to be shocked once and my heart was back to a normal rhythm. 

In July, I saw my general physician. I told him about it and he recommended a sleep study. Odd thing though, prior to being treated for AFIB, I never had high blood pressure. I'm now taking Lisinopril (10mg tab). 

I spent 30 yrs. in LE, and had a physical each & every year. Healthy as a horse, and often, the doctors would comment that they wished that their BP was as good as mine. 

Saw my sleep doc late last Nov. He listened to my heart and lungs and said all was good. I'm due for another check-up with my primary-care physician in a month or two. I'm going to request an EKG to see if I'm still in the zone.
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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
I'm having my second cardioversion next week and hoping it will last this time. They tell me that sleep apnea can be a cause of afib so I'm really hoping that treatment will help me stay in a normal rhythm.
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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
Please keep us posted on what you find. I'm kind of curious now.
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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
For anyone who wants to follow up:


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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
Great articles. Thanks. I had read one but not the other.
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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
I had my first cardio version after being in AFIB for over a year  After 10 days my AFIB came back even after taken amiodarone and was surprised to see my oxygen level and my pulse rate dropped significantly about two hours before i woke up and when i woke up my heart was significantly faster and my oxygen rate was 7 points below normal when not in AFIB for those ten days. Is there a correlation I dont know for sure but it isnt a coincidence at least not to me
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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
My suggestion is to buy a recording pulse oximeter compatible with OSCAR. This is useful in checking Oxygen Sats and identifying both slow (Bradycardia) and fast (Tachycardia) rates both of which should be investigated.
Fred Bonjour - Project Manager and Lead Tester for OSCAR - Open Source CPAP Analysis Reporter 

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RE: Sleep apnea and afib
I am 71 years old and suspect I have had OSA for years. When I saw the sleep physician he told me that because I had a severe overbite and an elongated bit (?????) at the back of my throat, he could guarantee 100% that I had OSA. He said although born with those features, they were generally not a problem when we are young but as we get older, things become floppy (his description!) and the problems happen. About 10 - 15 years ago, I developed very high blood pressure and had my first AF attack which consistently last for 12 hours exactly then revert. I went to emergency for the first attack and the doctor told me I would have it for life. The attacks seemed to happen about every 3 months and although extremely uncomfortable, if I rested I managed ok. 
 Things changed about a year ago when in my wisdom I thought I could control my high blood pressure naturally (with diet, exercise etc) and foolishly stopped taking medication. My B/P went to 200/110 so was referred urgently to a cardiologist who said I now had moderate heart failure. Also the AF attacks had started to get more frequent (one or two a week) and during one I apparently had a small heart attack so the doctors told me when I landed up in emergency. The cardiologist was adamant that I should have a sleep study and consequently was diagnosed with moderate to severe OSA. My blood pressure is now back to normal with medication which I think is also controlling the heart failure. I have been on CPAP since early December 2019 and have had 2 attacks of AF since then. Both times seemed to coincide with lowering the pressure on my machine. The sleep physician suggested lowering my pressure from 14 to 11 (I have since read it should only be lowered in small increments) When I spoke to the  sleep technician she suggested trying automatic and the next night had a really bad AF attack - I believe the range was 4-20 but it was only an hour or so in with obviously much lower pressure that the AF started. So I went back to fixed pressure after only 2 terrible nights on automatic and put it up to 15. Major leaks and swallowing lots of air have been a major problem with AHI going back up to between 7 and 15.  I am now reducing the pressure every couple of nights by .2 to .4 and am currently sitting back on 14 which is better (AHI now under 3) so will reduce it a bit more but more gradually to see if I can find my optimum pressure myself. I am not sure if the mask is a problem or not but guess it is not wise to try and change too many things at the same time.
Apologies for the long post, but that has been my journey to date and I am really convinced that worsening OSA (and snoring which has now stopped) caused the high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and probably an early death had I not started CPAP.
Education for me has been the key and I am eternally grateful to ApneaBoard and Oscar (although I am battling to understand all the charts and upload data) I am so much better informed than when I first started CPAP - it's definitely 3 steps forward then 2 back!
My next job and challenge is to set up a monthly donation to ApneaBoard without having to use PayPal  Thinking-about

PS - I think there are different types of Atrial Fibrillation. My youngest sister (I am her full time carer) has constant AF where mine are just periodic episodes. Her kidneys failed 4 years ago after a sudden autoimmune attack and she has been on dialysis ever since. She also had a small stroke a year before the kidney failure which was no doubt caused from her atrial fib - she wasn't on any anticoagulants at the time. 
Atrial fibrillation in whatever form is a life threatening condition.

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