New to this

Hello, got my pacemaker Aug 3rd. After wearing a monitor for 2 days. Found out when I was sleeping my heart was stopping. 18 times in 2 nights. Longest was 9.3 seconds. Doc said if it was during the day I would have passed out. The doctor contacted me at 930 at night & got pacemaker installed 3 days later. Didn't have a chance to get a second opinion. As I was prepped for surgery I asked the doctor what would cause it to stop. He said sleep apnea is a possible cause. SO SHOULDN'T I HAVE BEEN GIVEN A SLEEP APNEA TEST BEFORE A PACEMAKER ? I was on the table ready when he said that. I know it's to late to change this but was wondering other peoples opinions ? 


7 Comments

you need both

by Tracey_E - 2020-08-12 13:24:47

If your heart is stopping that many times and for that long, you can go to sleep and not wake up. Pacing was not optional. It's possible sleep apnea made it worse but treating sleep apnea is not going to magically make the pauses stop. They don't understand the connection but it's common for people with heart problems to have sleep apnea. It's two separate problems. Don't second guess the need for the pacer. Schedule a sleep study if you haven't already. The pacer will make sure your heart doesn't stop but sleep apnea causes other problems so still needs to be treated. 

Too late

by AgentX86 - 2020-08-12 13:55:27

If your heart was stopping for close to ten seconds, by the time you had a sleep study it might have stopped and not restarted. You wouldn't have needed the sleep study.

Yes, there is a strong correlation between the two but I don't think they've completely figured out the causation.

Even if they did the sleep study,  assuming you lived that long, and found that you did have sleep apnia,it wouldn't have magically fixed your heart. The bottom line is that your doctor saved your life.

Now, where do you go from here? First you accept where you are and where you want to go. If you want a normal life, there is NOTHING stopping you. In reality, other than a few more visits to the doctor, you'll soon forget you have the tthing. OTOH, you can dwell on it and let it own you. The keyword in all of this is "you". Your decision.

If you need help righting your boat, seek it. Many here have. It's not a bad thing and noone will think any less of you. It won't take long.

There really isn't time to wait

by Gotrhythm - 2020-08-12 19:06:12

Sleep apnea is just ONE possible cause. There are others, like neurocardiogenic syncope. The thing is, knowing you have a heart that could stop at any time, how long do you think it would be okay to wait to rule out all possible causes?

In many cases, though doctors can speculate, it really isn't possible to know the cause. 

It can be hard to take in the seriousness of heart pausing when you were asleep and didn't experience it. I certainly had no idea it was happening to me.

But just imagine if you did have a 10 second pause while driving a car. There are Pacemaker Club members that has happened to.

It's a shock to have to get an emergency pacemaker, and to have to think about all the questions you should have asked, all the things you weren't told, when it's too late to change anything. I know. It happened to me.

It took me a few months to fully accept it.

Give yourself time to heal. Hopefully to start feeling better. And to realize how close you came to dying in your sleep.

EXACT same scenario here!

by arentas80 - 2020-08-12 23:55:41

At 39 I felt weak one evening while brushing my teeth and almost fainted. I went to the ER and everything checked out normal. The doctor asked if I ever had a heart test. I laughed and said no. I thought to myself I'm only 39 why would I need one?!! He said wear this patch for two weeks and then turn it in. I did and guess what. ONLY WHEN I SLEPT, I had anywhere from 4 -11 second pauses EVERY NIGHT! I had 17 pauses in 14 days and my heart rate dropped to 21BPM. Most of the other nights it dipped into the low 30's as well. I'm not athletic either so that wasn't a reason for it to be dropping that low. 
 

Anyhow like your docs said mine said the same. My heart disease is secondary to my sleep apnea. I am treated for it but I wasn't for a long time. I also used to drink a lot. When I did my take home sleep test I drank just to see if I REALLY had it. Well guess what? I would have an episode 124 times per hour. That's literally every 30 seconds. Looking back now I think I damaged my heart by the drinking combined with my sleep apnea. What an IDIOT I was!! Either way I'm still here (THANK GOD!), I don't drink anymore (10/3/2019) and if that ER doc never bothered to give me that heart patch for two weeks.... Who knows if I would be here today!!!! As AgentX86 said your doctor saved your life. Get your sleep study done, plan your future and make the best of every day. Good luck to you. I wish you nothing but the best. God bless!

Alejandro

Great group

by krafty - 2020-08-13 12:00:41

Thank You for all your comments. I appreciate you all. Never really thought about it that it could have stopped & not restarted. I am feeling alot better now. I will be on & off here forever ! God Bless . 😃

Nearly Identical Stories....

by SullyCT - 2020-08-13 13:01:30

I'm a 54 year old male that was told that I had moderate sleep apnea in 2009 after a sleep test. Because my nose has been broken several times, I was told that I would need significant nose surgery before I would be able to use CPAP (they were wrong). I told myself that I would lose weight and fix the problem myself (horrible decision), I never started CPAP. I never lost weight, I have actually gained weight in the last 11 years.

I passed out three times in 24 hours in April 2020 and was diagnosed 3rd degree block LBB. PM put in April 2020. I looked at your profile, we have the same PM. I have been struggling to get used to CPAP for the last couple of months (with a full mask) but I'm determined to get used to it and use it for the rest of my life...I have no choice. I may need the nose surgery still, time will tell. I believe that my untreated sleep apnea caused my heart block- but can never prove it. Hang in there, things get better!!

Heart stopping

by keggers - 2020-09-16 13:25:21

Does anyone know what this heart condition is called when your heart completely stops. I am 66 years old and was passing out. After heart monitor found that my heart was stopping for over 10 seconds then starting back up. The doctor immediately put in PM 3 weeks ago. I still occasionally feel lightheaded. Is this normal. 

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