Do You Have Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation? Why Does It Matter? - For Patients. By Patients - Stop Atrial Fibrillation

Many of you know that I’m concerned about the relationship between sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation and also about how atrial fibrillation can overwork the heart and lead to heart failure.

Thus, a newly launched study about sleep apnea and heart failure may hopefully provide information useful for those with atrial fibrillation.

What are the implications today for those with afib and should you be tested for sleep apnea?

Read more at Why Afib Patients Must Know Whether They Have Sleep Apnea

Then please come back here to post your comments, thoughts, and experiences.

149 Responses to Do You Have Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation? Why Does It Matter?

  • Judy says:

    I have both apnea and afib. Afib used to start with me during the evenings or, oddly to me, at night. Being on a CPAP machine kept me out of going into afib at night. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help the progression of the afib, though obviously that is hard to say.

    I now use a APAP machine and find it much more comfortable than CPAP.

    It was my pulmonologist who had me tested for apnea which was free to me even with lousy insurance. He insists my heart will be healthier if I keep treating the apnea. None of the cardiologists or EPs seem to care. What an odd world we live in!

  • Sally says:

    Hi Judy, have joined this group as my husband has had Afib. (He has been cardioverted ). Prior to this he was diagnosed with sever sleep apnea. He has bonded with his cpap machine, however subsequently went into afib. I asked his EP if he would comment on why this occurred after the introduction of cpap. He could not. I have not heard of anyone remotely associated with cardiology who would not endorse CPAP for those with sleep apnea. I would love to learn what you mean by the progression of afib. I would also be interested in learning about the apap as I’ve not head of this. All the best and thank you!

  • nancy white says:

    Melanie,I read the report on a fib and sleep apnea.I was diagnosed 5 years ago about the same time frame.Spent3 days 9in ICU. I received the usual meds for afib in large doses.Not one doctor associated the two as being relatedso I began my own research on both.There is no question the apnea aggravates afib.I have experimented on myself by not usig my machine and always ended in elevated bp and afib the next morning.I took it upon myself to wean off of toprol,cardizem coumadin.The high doses of both causes heart failurein itself by not allowing the heart to beat fast enough to pump .blood.I had a heartrate that would rarely go over45 even during exercise.After having run in a5k race I ended back in ICU with positive tropinin levels.That is when we began to cease the cardizem entirely.With exercise and diet we can control some of the symptoms of the 3 apnea, bp afib. Seldom will a dr tell us apnea could be the culprit.More research needs to be done in this area.I would encourage you to religiously use your cpap at all times even during a short nap.Another helpful tool for afib is deep breathing exercisesto control rate. good luck with your machine. Itmay take some time to get used to but once it is in regular use you will not live without it.Thank you for such an informative site and the work you do to keep us up to date on the new therapies.sincerely Nancy White

  • JEFF says:

    Hi Melanie,
    I guess I’m fortunate to go into A Fib 2-4 times a year but I also suffer from mild apnea. I am trying to get used to the APAP machine but find it very difficult. I can only get 2-4 hours sleep and then have to take it off to sleep the balance of the night. I am now using a new mask that covers the mouth and nose which in theory should be much more comfortable. As my Doctor has said it a related problem but to what degree ! More study is needed.
    I will say that when I excersise I feel much better and sleep longer so get to work and start moving.

  • Mellanie says:


    That is very strange that, even with afib, your cardiologists and EPs didn’t question whether you had sleep apnea. I think the relationship between sleep apnea and afib just doesn’t register with some doctors.

    It’s good that your APAP is working well for you, and that the machine has kept you from starting into afib at night. That’s good to know.


  • Mellanie says:


    Unfortunately, sleep apnea and afib are kind of a checken and egg thing – we really don’t know which comes first, and it can vary from person to person.

    An APAP is an automated CPAP in that it adjusts to your breathing and provides different levels during the night. It seems to be more common with those who need a higher setting on their CPAP, though anyone can generally request one. They are a goo bit more expensive.

    Good luck.


  • Mellanie says:


    Thanks for your great comments and good luck with your afib.

    I bonded quickly with my CPAP. I started with a full-face mask and slept better from the begining, except for the one night that I tried a nasal mask. I kept ripping it off my face as I couldn’t breathe with it.

    I travel with my CPAP, and even showed it on a segment on national TV recently to raise awareness of afib and sleep apnea and their relationship. Please help us spread the word.

    You’re absolutely right – more research must be done in this area.

    All the best for keeping your afib under control.


  • Mellanie says:


    I hope that you find the full-face mask to be much more comfortable, and that you can get a good night of sleep with it. I just couldn’t sleep with a nasal mask.

    The hardest part with masks is getting them to fit right. That can be so frustrating. Either you don’t get a good seal, or it’s digging into your face. It takes a while to adjust to it.

    Good luck to you.


  • JEFF says:

    Thank you, actually I just ordered a new nasal only fitting called the pillow with just one strap. Hopefully this will work and sleep will last more than a couple of hours. It’s amazing that the face mask will work for some people(Nancy) and not for others.
    I will keep all advised if this new type is successful.

  • Mellanie says:


    Good luck with the nasal pillow “mask”. That wasn’t an option for me–everything I read indicated that someone with recurring sinus congestion or sinusitis should use a full-face mask. Hope it works well for you.


  • Tommy says:

    I also have afib and apnea. I only have afib episodes at night and have never to my knowledge had one during the daytime. I am currently on a CPAP machine for my apnea and have had cather ablation surgery approximatley 6 months ago. I had no episodes for approximatley 6 months and within the past couple of months they have started back. My doctor currently has me on a LifeWatch monitor to verify the episodes. I have not heard from him yet and hope to discuss it with him soon to confirm whether they are are not episodes. When I have these episodes at night it is difinitely scary because with each of my occurances I experience a tingling, numbness and very slight weakness in my left side (arm & leg). Some episodes are worse than others. This has been communicated to the doctor numerious times but does not seem to be of signficant concern to him. Sometimes it takes 24 hours before the sensation goes completely away. I also have a problems finding the right mask for use with my CPAP. I am a mouth breather unfortunately and wear a full face mask. I have already been through approximately 10 different styles, and I am still not crazy about any of them. Have settled on the best of the 10 right now but still have hope that someone will make the perfect mask soon. My doctor did not feel that the CPAP would totaly cure my afib and therefore perscribed the ablation since I wanted to get off of the drugs. I guess that I may end up having the second ablation procedure performed.

  • Mellanie says:


    I’m sorry you have afib and sleep apnea, but am glad you’re treating it seriously.

    That numbness is scary. I’m surprised the doctor wasn’t at all concerned.

    We CPAP’ers all know that finding the right mask is the hardest part. Good luck.

    I, too, must have a full-face mask as I have occasional sinus infections and congestion. My current mask (Mirage Quattro) is fine–I’ve gotten used to it–but I would love to have one that isn’t made of hard plastic that digs into my face (and sinuses). But, that seems too much to ask. At least it doesn’t leak too much.

    I haven’t seen anything to indicate that CPAP would cure afb, just that treating sleep apnea makes it less likely that procedures such as cardioversion will reverse themselves.

    Good luck.


  • peggy koetter says:

    My husband was just diagnosed with a- fib in the last year. He is in denial and does not really believe he needs to take his medicine and that if he just loses weight it will “go away.” He went back to Dr. Jung at my request after six months and again wore a holter for 24 hours. He went into A- fib while he was sleeping and the doctor said at one point his heart stopped beating all together for about seven seconds. He is only 52 years old. This scares me to death, since his father also has a- fib and had a stroke when he was in his early seventies. Is my husband at high risk due to all of these factors for having a heart attack or stroke?

  • Beth says:

    I just found you guys and feel a little left behind. I’ve had a-fib (my electrocario calls it a-flutter rather than a-fib) for 7 years now. At first, only rarely. Now most of the time. Then was dxed with apnea about 2 years ago. Love, love, love my apap.

    Had an ablation last May and had blessed relief from the a-fib/flutter. Four months later, the fib/flutter came back – about the time I gained back 15 lbs (lost 40 with the apap – did I say I love that machine?) and I found myself startling awake in the night again. Made me wonder if the weight worsed the apnea which put me back out of rhythm. Am scheduled for another ablation, but wonder if I should wait until I get the weight off and apnea back under control. Any ideas?

  • Charlie says:

    I have severe sleep apnea and have been on CPAP for nearly 6 years (16 cm). I was apparently one of the lucky ones because I very easily adapted to the machine almost from the first night. I’ve used a couple of different masks and they all work great for me. I wouldn’t trade the CPAP for anything.

    I also have afib and every single one of my afib events (probably 50 major events so far) has started at night while I sleep. I had sleep apnea long before my afib started

    The time between my afib events is gradually getting shorter. Originally I had an afib event about 4 times per year and after 7 years I now have an event about once per month. The events always last between 10 and 14 hours and I have yet to find anything that I can conclusively say either induces the events or stops them. I can say that using my CPAP definitely does not stop my afib events.

    I just started on flecanaide and that seems to help, but I’ve only been on it two months.

    I’ve been trying to get my doctors to consider ablation because I am sick and tired of taking a fistful of meds every day. And I am far from convinced that this drug cocktail isn’t having negative long term effects. I would definitely like to know how to convince them to consider ablation. Right now the only response I get is that my afib isn’t severe enough to consider ablation. Not the answer I’d like to hear, obviously. I trust my electro guy to know more about heart rhythm than I do, of course, but I wonder if it isn’t time for me to start doctor shopping.

  • Tommy Hall says:

    Has your husband been dianosed with sleep apena? The afib and sleep apnea are very much connected. My afib episodes were just at night. Since I had the cather ablation surgery done at UVA my heart does not go into afib but I am still awakened at night with my heart pounding. Since the surgery I have been able to stop taking the flecanide that was prescribed for the afib. I did not want to stay on the drug not knowing the long term effects. My doctors always told me that afib was not life threatening unless you stay in afib a lengthy amount of time. 10 – 12 hours is what was always communicated to me by doctors and staff as being to long. Your risk of a clot is increased the longer that you stay in it. Can he tell when he goes into afib or is he in it and does not know? Mine would wake me out of my sleep but I have heard of others that were in it and had no idea. If you are interested I can provide you some names and numbers at UVA. They are very good at what they do concerning afib and other heart related issues. They also have a website with contact information.

  • Mellanie says:


    With a family history of afib and stroke, and having been diagnosed with afib himself, he needs to do something to decrease his risk. It sounds like he may have sleep apnea, which often goes hand-in-hand with afib. If he won’t take action for himself, will he do it for his family? Good luck.


  • Mellanie says:


    Afib and atrial flutter often go hand in hand – afib is irregular heartbeats that can be slow or fast, while a-flutter is fast and regular heartbeats. They are both challenging to live with or get rid of.

    We know that untreated sleep apnea can cause afb and flutter to return, but you were treating your sleep apnea. However, if you were startling awake, then the apnea wasn’t totally under control.

    I’m not a medical expert and can’t give medical advice, but knowing that untreated sleep apnea can cause afib to return, if I were in your shoes I’d want another sleep study or to figure out what new setting on the APAP it would take to get my apnea back under control. I’d do that before an ablation because I’d be concerned that the afib would come back if I didn’t have my sleep apnea under control. Just my two cents worth.


  • Mellanie says:


    Has anything changed that would cause your setting (16 cm) to need to be changed?

    I can’t tell you if you need a new doctor, but your comment, “Right now the only response I get is that my afib isn’t severe enough to consider ablation.” really says a lot. It makes me ask if your doctor REALLY understands what the afib is doing to you and the toll it is taking. Often they don’t understand and that’s because they haven’t walked in your shoes. A doctor that does understand will often take a more aggressive approach.

    Good luck with it.


  • norman welsh says:

    dear melanie; i got a second opinion on my a fib and the new dr, sent me for lots of tests and just finished with my sleep apena tests and its linked with my a fib; using a machine and after a month i will probably be ablated again. mask is uncomfortable but i will get used to it; norman welsh

  • Scott says:

    I am 49 and have had a series of very mild afibs, always starting at night. I can get out of it by doing jumping jacks.

    I have also been diagnosed with UARS, a lighter version of sleep apnea, but it has the same effect on distrupting sleep architecture.

    I have started with the CPAP mask, and don’t mind it too much. I am hoping that this prevents future afib episodes but am a little discouraged after reading some of these posts. Seems CPAP is not a cure over time. I would love to hear if anyone cured their afib with cpap…but I somehow doubt it.

    It does seem that sleep apnea related afib responds less well to ablation. That said, Dr Warren Jackman thinks he has discovered a pathway which if ablated can help this specific form of afib. See article posted after the Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium 2009. Provides some hope.

  • Paul says:

    Hi –
    I am 52 years old and in relatively good health. I have been diagnosed with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy since i was 28. Also, have had an irregularly irregular heartbeat for years. Have been on beta blockers and had a pretty easy life. The new twist is afib. We think it started about 6 months ago – I stay in it all the time. Started Coumadin and they increased the atenenol – was not easy to tolerate the new dosages (lethargy and weight gain), but that is much easier. Had the first elcectroshock and went out of afib. Lasted four days and been back in it for another four weeks.
    Yesterday the results of a sleep study said I have sleep apnea. So now something new to start – do not want this CPAP – but will give it a try. See how this works now – see the top guy at UCSF in a week and see what is next. Tell me it gets better.

  • Jo Dyer says:

    I have used a cpap machine for 7 years at least. This last fall-2008- I started to go into afib once a month. My doctor put me on cartia, and until May 2009, this seemed to keep me out of afib. Now I have gone into afib for 4 nights in a row- I wake up with rapid fluttering, can;t find my pulse, feel dizzy. Usually within 1-2 hrs it reverts. I am worried about the reasons and the long term effects. I take an aspirin when I wake up, and sometimes another cartia pill.

  • Judy Hendricks says:

    I have been using CPAP for sleep apnea about three years now. I was diagnosed with AFIB in Jan. 08. Several here have said they go into AFIB at night. My experience is just the opposite. I go into it during the day, usually afternoon or eve. but always wake up the next morning back in normal rhythm. I had been wondering whether ir was the sleep itself or the CPAP machine that converts it back. I am currently doing this four or five times a week and it happens this way consistantly.
    About CPAP, please don’t try just one type machine and give up. I have read lots of comments on sleep apnea site. Everyone seems to have a different choice on what works best for them. I Started with mask over just nose, could never get it tight enough to stop leaks unless it was painfully tight. I called it an “instrument of torture”. Then I tried the nasal pillows. For me, that was the answer. Most of the time now I forget I have it on.

  • Scott W says:

    Hi Mellanie:
    Thanks for your website.
    I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse and afib at about 22 years old. It occured a few times a year, controlled then by inderal only as needed. Later, occurance got a little more frequent, so started minimizing caffeine and other obvious triggers (eg., dehydration, alcohol). At 49 had ablation by catheter which kept me out of afib for 4 years. I was feeling some extra heart beats recently, so my cardio doc had me wear the holter monitor. No afib, but he noticed heart stopped at night for 3 to 4 seconds. Had me do sleep study as he suspected i may have apnea. He was right: moderate apnea. Next sleep study was to calibrate PAP with mask, which i really didnt mind using, but the CPAP had to be to high – so they switched to BiPAP. With that, I quit breathing for over 90 seconds and the sleep doctor said i briefly went into afib or similar arrythmia. I think the machine rhythm threw off my breathing rhythm. I decided to not use PAP. A couple of weeks later I went into afib. I dont know if the event with the PAP precipitated it or more likely the caffeine in the chocolate I ate that day, duh. Electrocardiovert did not work, but sotalol did in 24 hrs. My cardio said we could stay on medication, consult the ElectroPhysiologist , or change lifestyle to zero caffeine, very little or no alcohol (a glass of wine only a couple times a week) and see what happens. It was ok for two and a half months, but then I went into afib again. They were going to E-cardiovert me, but the Soltalol finally converted me before the cardiovert appt, altho it took 4 days, this time. I really try to avoid triggers, but I am considering having ablation enhancement or touch up and have called my EP for an evaluation.

    I respect my doctors who are ready to help me right away and relate to me what the latest info is. In particular, my cardio offers 2 or 3 choices to proceed and what the risks, pros, cons of each are. I decide, but he gives nudges as to which way(s) he thinks are optimizing. I think i am now going to have to deal with the sleep apnea issue further. I was surprised to learn that i have it. I fall asleep in a few minutes and rarely if ever wake up until it is time in the morning. I used to feel more refreshed when i awoke, but now i dont so much and about mid-afternoon feel tired. Maybe this APAP you mention might be what i need. During the test with PAP, there were some occurences of central sleep apnea, so i think my sleep apnea situation may be complex. I have several aquaintences who use CPAP and BiPAP with no problems.

    Anyway, best wishes to you all and just keep at it and I enourage you to confer with your doc(s) to ascertain the best path(s) you can take. After afib-free several years I thought the ablation was a cure, but it seems we are back to managing it for now and that’s ok, because we can be grateful for the opportunity and tools to manage the issue.

  • Mellanie says:

    Scott W,

    Good luck getting the sleep apnea under control. Some doctors have started not doing procedures until the apnea is under control as uncontrolled sleep apnea can cause a reversion back into afib, even after procedures.

    I hope they can figure out how to manage the sleep apnea and get rid of the breathing pauses.


  • Mellanie says:


    That’s interesting that the CPAP seems to bring you out of afib. Though I’ve never heard anyone else mention it, it’s quite likely that CPAP could do that.

    I agree about not giving up. It seems that some DMEs don’t know how to help folks pick out the right things and just provide “standard” gear without taking into consideration each individual’s differences and needs. I think that’s responsible for a lot of CPAP “failures”. I wish there were a better way for those with sleep apnea to get exactly what will work best for them. If anyone has “cracked the code” on that, I’d love to know.

    I decided to do a huge amount of research before ordering equipment, using online CPAP resources and discussion forums. I spent hours reading reviews of various machines and masks. One particularly helpful resource, at, has you take several facial measurements and recommends which masks will work well for your facial structure.

    While I swore I wouldn’t wear a “Darth Vader” mask, and preferred nasal pillows, I soon discovered that for those of us with sinus issues, and thus occasional mouth-breathing, full-face masks are really the best way to go. I tried a nasal mask, too, but ended up returning it (I’m glad I took out mask insurance on it). I also have a hybrid mask, which covers the mouth and has nasal pillows; I bought it for travel since it’s much smaller than a full-face mask, but I just don’t use it as it feels like having a blowtorch up my nose all night.

    We’re each different and have to find what works best for us. I encourage anyone who is struggling to research options as the right combination is out there, you just have to find it.

    Thanks for your comments.


  • Mellanie says:


    Has it been 7 years since the last sleep study/titration? Has anything changed that could mean that your CPAP pressure setting is no longer optimal and that your sleep apnea is not as controlled as it had been?


  • Mellanie says:


    I hope the CPAP is working for you.

    I believe, from what I’ve heard, that afib with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a very different “beast”. Because of that, we have created a special interest forum in our discussion forums for those who want to discuss the unique challenges of afib and HCM and help each other.

    You’ll find it here:

    You’ll be asked to register at the forums in order to post and discuss. I hope it’s of use for you.


  • Jpat says:

    Hi Mellanie,
    It is so nice of you to provide this forum for better understanding of what can be a serious health issue.

    I have a mild form of sleep apnea and have been on CPAP (setting #8) for a bit over 5 years. I swear by the machine (ResMed S8 Escape II) and have had a relatively easy time with the mask. Recently, I went to the nasal pillows and find it preferable to the mask. The key is to use the right size pillows. The pillows are overall less apparatus on the head and just basically more user friendly for me. I have even quit using a chin strap. One big plus of CPAP is the idea of breathing filtered, moist air all night. I live in a dry climate and it just makes life easier here.

    I have had a couple of recent episodes of A-fib and A-flutter. Thinking there might be a connection, I inquired of Google and sure enough. I hope to learn more about that connection in the future, but wanted to mention something I didn’t see on your blog. Namely cleanliness of the CPAP tubing, humidifier, etc. and the air filter. I have noticed that I tend to yawn during the day when I have either an old filter or haven’t cleaned my CPAP for much over a week.

    I plan to ask my sleep doc about this, but suspect there may be a tie to the A-fib. As you know, yawning during the day is indicative of either undiagnosed sleep apnea or CPAP equipment that isn’t working optimally. I have learned to reassess my program when I find myself yawning. Invariably, I am out of balance on something that is easily corrected.

    I would like to add that I use a dental mouth guard that not only keeps me from grinding my teeth, but also encourages me to breathe thru my nose. I once had sinus infections and sinusitus but after endoscopic sinus surgery about 20 years ago I no longer have this complication. This is same-day, outpatient surgery that was a godsend.

    I have been heading for the ER when I have A-fib, but believe there may be a better way to cadriovert myself. I’ve heard that straining, bending over and straining, jumping jacks, going to sleep with CPAP, etc. all work: but, would like to hear what works best and is safest.

  • Mellanie says:


    Thanks for your kind words about this site. And thanks for bringing up the point about CPAP tubing cleanliness.

    While this blog is focused on afib, not CPAP (I love for that), that is important info. The instructions that came with my machine said to rinse the hose and hang it to dry every day, along with cleaning the mask daily and the filter weekly. Also to change the humidifier water daily (and clean with vinegar water weekly), or just use distilled water, which I do. CPAP cleanliness is very important.

    Congrats on your success with the mouthguard and surgery. The opinions and experiences I’ve heard lead me to suspect that they work best for those with mild sleep apnea, and for some who have moderate sleep apnea, but not all, and generally not for those who have severe sleep apnea. This is strictly conjecture based on anecdotes froms others.

    We’re each different–an experiment of one–so what works to convert one person likely doesn’t work for another. For me, oxygen actually has been known to convert me. It’s possible that the CPAP might for you. It’s worth a try.

    Just as an FYI, for further research, we have brought together a lot of links on apnea here:

    Sleep Apnea Multiplies Risk of Arrhythmias Like Atrial Fibrillation

    In addition, we just published a story yesterday on sleep apnea’s impact on catheter ablation (it’s not good):

    Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea Predicts Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Failure, New Study Says

    Good luck.


  • K says:

    I have both Sleep Apnea (due to my tongue blocking the airway while I sleep) and A-Fib.

    I have not been able to be treated for my Sleep Apnea. I have tried every type of mask possible and it is too painful for me to keep it on my face. I end up crying and pulling it off my face. The people that test it says that it can not be loosed any further. I have tried a mouth guard and keep choking on my own flem. My Sleep Apnea physician sent me to a surgeon who said they can do one of two types of surgery. They could cut my tongue (as it supposed is too long) to correct my Sleep Apnea or they can do surgery in the nasal area. The surgeon himself said that they do NOT recommend either of these surgeries but that they can certainly be done.

    My Sleep Apnea physician then suggested weight loss surgery, but I am being honest with myself. I know I could never keep to the type of diet one would have to committ to. As it is I have the worst diet possible: FAST FOOD as I find it to difficult to cook at home (I live alone and can’t afford anyone to pay for it). I am also not eligible for home care.

    I am treated for A-Fib but itje treat,ment does not correct it. I take Atenelol and Digoxin. My doctor has been having me take a full strength asprin rather than Coumadin. I told him that I preferred Asprin as I don’t want to have to go through all the blood tests that would be needed. I am in CONSTANT A-FIB but I do not feel it.

    I am seeing my Cardiologist this afternoon and going to ask him about
    Electrical Cardioversion, Catheter Ablation, and Surgery and the likely hood that these treatment might help me. I am only 46 years old.

  • Ronnie says:

    I am 43 years old, about 3 years ago I started waking up in the early morning randomly with my heart out of rythym. Repeated visits to the Cardioligist told me that my nightly glass of wine was doing this. So I did not have any wine. Randomly over time I continued to have this problem. We finally caught it by a heart monitor to confirm afib. My doctor would not burn a calorie to figure this out as I was afraid to sleep.
    I changed doctors and got on a BPAP machine. Once it was regulated I have not had Afib in 1.5 years that I am aware of. It could possibly occur in my sleep as I have been awaken with apnea but with a couple of good breaths it straightens right out. With out a doubt I believe that if you stop breathing rythym for what ever reason, your heart can go into Afib. I carry my BPAP with me everywhere we go if it is over night and have not missed a night without it. Now the real question is how we can figure out why this occurs and get off of the bipap’s. I m only 6’2 and weigh 197 which is considered slim for my height. I think weight does have something to do with it and exercise too. Stress was a huge part at the time mine was acting up. If I feel that it is skipping I take a 1/2 xanex or a 1/2 toprol. But I do not regularly take them. Hope this helps somebody.

  • Ronnie says:

    Well I am back. Seems that right after I posted mine I started having afib in my sleep. My BPAP has been sent off and so I m on a test unit again. So we will see what happens. It is 4am because I cant sleep. Im scared to go into afib with the apnea.

  • Alan Kendall says:

    Early hours of 30 July I had a heart attack. I got lucky. With excellent medical care which included the insertion of 2 stents within 3 hours of the attack in my Left Anterior Artery I think I am recovering well. I’m back to work, playing golf etc.

    The only real downside has been a couple of side effects which may be linked to my medication or have some other cause.

    In hospital I was put on a cocktail of drugs including the beta blocker Bisoprolol and everything was great for 3 weeks until I woke at around 4 a.m. one morning with a very fast irregular heartbeat.

    Called an ambulance, into hospital, checked over. BP fine, no chest pain or other issues but AF continued for an hour or so until they stuck a needle in me to take blood. Heart rate and rhythm settled back to normal at that point.

    Cardiac Registrar diagnosed Paroxysmal AF and advised my GP to change the Bisoprolol to Sotalol at 80mg twice a day. My GP made the change and gradually intoduced me onto Sotalol. I started with 40mg bd then 40mg a.m. and 80mg p.m. then up to the full dose. This was over a 4 week period.

    Almost as soon as I got to the full dose, I had a further bout of AF again at around 4 a.m. with the same result. Ambulance, hospital, checkover, needle – it stopped. The only difference this time was that I had drunk 4 glasses of red wine at a friends birthday dinner the previous evening.

    Next and latest bout was a week ago on my birthday. Same scenario on the red wine, but this time I didn’t call the ambulance. Just went downstairs, sat upright on the sofa and the AF settled after about 40 minutes.

    Possible factors:

    Recent heart attack
    Sotalol + red wine
    Low heart rate at rest due to Sotalol (around 48 bpm)
    I know I snore
    My wife says that I occasionally stop breathing for a moment when I snore

    I have also suffered from blurred vision since I got onto the full Sotalol dose and when I get into bed at night and lie down on my left side I suddenly become aware of my heart beating irregularly . This settles very soon after I turn onto my right side.

    Can anyone make anything out of this jumble of information ?

    I am starting to think along the lines of Sotalol plus sleep apnea ?

  • Joyce Pawlitschek says:

    I’ve had sleep apnea for several years now; in Oct. 2009, I developed a fib. After being treated, I had cardioversion in May 2010. It worked the first time. However, sometime between Jan 24, 2011 and Feb. 3, 2011, I went back into A fib. Cardioversion was done again, but did not work. I use my bi-pap machine. Any suggestions?

    • Mellanie says:


      I’m sorry you’re having so much difficulty. It’s good that you’re using your BiPAP machine. Have you tried any medications yet? Sometimes they help keep you in sinus rhythm after cardioversion.


  • Jan says:

    I have been in Afib since October 2010. I have had two chemical conversions…that did not work. I went in February 2011 and got my heart shocked….lasted two days..went back into afib…converted back to normal rhythm that night…but then the next day was back in afib where it has stayed…now March 2011. I went 3-1 for sleep apnea. Went a coupe days ago and found I do have a form of sleep apnea. Not completely cutting off my airway but my oxgen levels are going way down and everything my airway is alost closing I wake up….and am not reaching the restful stage of sleep but onlly for short periods during the night. My heart doctor suggested the test and felt sure I would test positive because i stopped breathing while under for the heart shock. So now I will use the cpap or whatever they decide suits me best for a few months and if my heart doesn’t convert on it own…I guess we will be doing another heart shock (.I will have to continue the sleep machine) I seem to stay tire all the time or if I do feel good and do much I feel exhausted. and I have always been a hyper person. Does anyone else staying in afib feel the exhaustion. heart doctor says it’s because of the afib.

  • brothermike says:

    I had catheter ablation two yrs ago after being diagnosed with both A-Fib and Flutter. I had passed stress tests, echo exams and weight and blood pressure readings. The ablation procedure was NOT successful and I’m consigned to taking Jantoven to thin my blood.

    I think my Cardiologist SHOULD HAVE at least mentioned that Sleep Disorder could be causal.

    It turns out that I have Obstructive Sleep Disorder and I’ve recently begun using a positive air pressure system.

    I believe that not only will I enjoy more therapeutic sleep but that I will alleviate my Atrial problems.

    I think sharing information like this could streamline a process of more effective treatment.

    I am really really disappointed in the (cough) system of health care which seems to have incentivized inefficiency.

  • I have had atrial fibulation for years and 4 years ago they did the maze sugery. I also have a CPAP machine that I use nightly. Since my maze surgery I have been diagnosed with Alpha ! (Hereditary Emphaszma) and on oxygen (2 flow) daily and nightly along with my CPAP. My afib was nearly gone after my surgery and now after 4 years and a being a newly treated Alpha 1 patients receiving Prolastin C infusions weekly my atrilfib seems to be returning in the last several months. I am going to the cardiologist tomorrow but I’m trying to see what could be messing me up again. Is it the heart itself? is it the prolastin? could it be my thyroid? I can’t take anymore medications or I’ll explode do you think I would be a candidate for the surgery again. I’ve been told they can’t do the maze surgery more than once. Any comments would be helpful.
    Vickie S

  • dsmith says:

    Is anyone on here old enough to have served in Vietnam? I’m trying to find out if there is a relationship between sleep apnea and agent orange. My sleeping and breathing patterns changed shortly after returning fron Nam.I also have a-fib. Please respond if you have any info.

    • Mellanie says:


      I haven’t read anything about a correlation between sleep apnea and agent orange. We do know that environmental issues, including pesticides, can be related to afib, but I don’t know if that relationship is through sleep apnea or not.


  • Jim says:

    I have been in and out of A-Fib for the 5th time in 5 months.
    When I am in it I feel terrible.
    Out I feel fine.
    Yesterday, I was in a-Fib but decided , the hell with it, I’m
    playing golf. I took my pulse reader with me and after nine holes
    and not doing badly, I took my readings which were 140/70 P-65,,
    with no PVcs (for the first time in 15 hours or so..
    I remained in rhythm until last night while resting watching
    TV my pulse dropped below 40 for 5 – 10 minutes. i went to bed.
    This morning it’s around 135/65 P49 but still with PVCs. My
    heart seems to like being active and not resting. I will discuss
    this with my cardio on the 18th. Need a pacemaker? my friend did
    it took him out of A-Fib.

    • Mellanie says:


      Good luck figuring that one out. You may want to consult with an electrophysiologist, which is a specialized cardiologist that deals with heart rhythms.

      Before considering a pacemaker for afib, you may want to do some homework. Pacemakers by themselves do not stop afib. He may have had an AV node ablation with it. Here’s an article talking more about that: AV Node Ablation: Why You Shouldn’t Have It:


  • Ross says:

    I have sleep anea and AF (In form of a very irregular heart beat, which I probably have had most of my life) I have been on a APAP machine for 5 years now and it works very well. I have no trouble in sleeping 7-8 hours a night on the machine and my average AHI is 4.8. Lately however I have developed high blood pressue and am wondering if there is a connection. I have got into the habit of sleeping in for about an hour in the mornings ( I am retired) without the machine and am wondering if could affect my blood pressue.

    I also have REM Sleep Behavior Disorder but it doesn’t seem to affect the APAP machine except when I throw myself out of bed.

    any thoughts?


  • Pam Graves says:

    I wish you had some literature to discribe both conditions that you migh be
    able to mail to some one instead of going though the computer

  • jen Klingler says:

    3 years with cardiac trouble including afib, brdycardia and pvc’s, apc,s. I have seen 7 different docs incl. 2 cardios. 3 times – have been on a 3 week cardionet monitor. Results instantly show hundreds of episodes of nightly afib and heart stopping for 3-5 seconds. It was 2 days ago I was talking to a friend who works for a comp that sets up cpaps and she ask me if I get tired during the day…I said every day of my life I want to sleep all day…I figured it was some fatigue syndrome! How could 7 doctors with the evidence from the cardionet reports never have suspected sleep apnea? They put me on stupid lopressor which even in low doses causes me to have a heart rate of 35-40. I don’t know how to feel…thanks for listening!!

  • Rich Seiler` says:

    I have had a-vib for three years now and have had two ablations done during that time. I am 43 and decided to have a sleep study done since my sleep has always been terrible and I am always tired. Last week I was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea and just got fitted with a mask on Saturday. I have many questions that I do not know where to go for answers!! Does sleep apnea cause a-vib? Is there any up to date info on the relationship between the two(your article was back in 2009) This unknown is causing alot of fear!! I live in Mckinney Tx and see you are in Decatur- I would really appreciate advice on what to do next.. What doctors to see that have experience with this, anyone I could talk to that has the same problem. My sleep study people seem disconcerted and just think by sending me a CPAP machine, my symptoms of avib will go away. Any help on getting educating educated on this and having someone answer my questions would be greatly appreciated.


  • Ralf T. says:

    Dear Melanie,
    I was diagnosed with paroxysmal A-Fib in Dec. 05. Since then I have seen 4 different cardiologists in the great medical center heaven of Houston, TX. None have ever mentioned sleep apnea which seems strangely awful. Since my first attack, I have had 2 more attacks, the last of which was in June. Each time, I am converted to sinus rhythm by taking more Beta Blocker (Sotolol). Each time, I am almost unable to recognize the event which has always occurred at bedtime. The only symptoms are a headache, difficulty falling asleep and frequent urination. My current cardiologist feels that I may be a candidate for a pacemaker in that my heart rate goes too low when the Sotolol dosage is at a level that he thinks would prevent A-fib episodes. Because there is a possibility that I had 2 recent ischemic strokes, he put me on Pradaxa even though he never mentioned a blood thinner previously. He has never mentioned the risk of the beta blocker wearing off.
    During my last hospitalization, a sleep lab MD visited me and urged me to be tested at his lab. They have since concluded that I have sleep apnea and I will see the MD at the end of this month and imagine he will fit me with a CPAP or ??.
    When I last visited my cardiologist, I asked him about ablation and he referred me to an electrophysiologist. Now I am wondering of I should put that off until I learn the effects of the CPAP.
    I should point out that as best I can tell I feel fine and have good energy levels for a 72 year old.
    Any suggestions???

  • LANECIA says:

    I have been living with paroxysmal a-fib since 2004, its getting worse now and after 10 doctors one decided to send me for a sleep study. Now i have been diagnosed with OSA. Now what? I am told now this cpap may correct the a-fib if not then its time for the pulmonary vein ablation??? Im afraid and i dont know what to do HELP???

  • Jim says:

    I have been in A-Fib for 20 days. Nights are unbearable, up and down, very
    little sleep. Days are better, I even have played golf at 130 and have it come down to 92, always with broken HB. The meds to nothing to bring it down.
    I have an appointment Monday with the cardio, after having to wait for a referal
    even though I have seen him 7 times. I am 79 and athletic all my life, but
    this is hard to deal with.

  • lynn says:

    I have been on BiPap for 5 years and recently had A Fib. I was told that the key is not to undergo cardioversion until you have been scoped for blood clots in the area of the lungs or been properly treated with anticoagulents such as Pradaxa. I was insructed that if you are cardioverted, without addressing the danger of a blood clot becoming an emboli, you could be returning with a stroke. I have been on Toprol or Rythmol to control my arrythmias but it is CRUCIALto treat the dangerous side effect of blood clots. BiPap is wonderful and you will be amazed at the rise in energy and memory you will see returning. If the CPap is too uncomfortable make certain to tell your physician so that they can cover you through insurance for BiPap which allows you to breath out comfortably without a constant force of air. I hope this might be helpful in questions for your physician. Check with your doctor though!

  • Keith Smith says:

    I have been battling AFIB since my MI in 92 and my bypass in 95. I recently went back and had a sleep study. They prescibed a BiPAP and honestly while it is a real challenge getting to sleep with the mask on it does reduce the episodes of AFIB and it is nice to dream at night again. I usually wake up after a few hous of th emask on but to sleep without it on a nite means a certain episode of AFIB after a few nites.

  • David says:

    Wow, I have been having paroxysmal A-Fib since 1997. I have never been cardioverted and always return to a normal rythum on my own typically within 6 to 10 hours. 95% of all of my occurrances start between 1:00 AM and 3:00 AM. I wake right away and don’t fall back to sleep during an attach. I met a fellow who had both A-Fib and Sleep Apnea and said I should get checked. Since I started having A-Fib (about 2 to 4 attacks a year) I always asked my Cardiolgist about what may be going on during the night to trigger A-Fib. So last night I had a sleep study done and bang, i have severe sleep apnea and went into A-Fib that started at 1:00 AM and ended at 3:00 AM. Interesting. So I am going to treat my sleep apnea and I bet it fixes me right up. so I hope. Thus, take it into your own hands and make sure you ask the question. It may help you like to looks like it will help me. Oh, I was 44 when this all started.


  • marian says:

    I have read all comments on your blog and notice that nobody said that their Drs
    suggested Pacemaker. I have had PVC’ and irregular heartbeat for years. Recently, my cardio doc put me on a halter monitor and found A-Fib with 2 to 3 second pauses during sleep. I had a sleep apnea study but apnea wasnt enough to cause the pauses. He suggests a Pacemaker because I have the pauses andTachacardia and bradycardia. Pacemaker will adjust slow rate but I will need meds for the fast beat. I’m also on Pradaxa to prevent blood clots and stroke. Has anyone else been suggested to get a pacemaker for these pauses, fast beats and slow beats. I’m going to see an electrophysiologist to confirm that a pacemaker is necessary.

    • Mellanie says:


      Generally pacemakers aren’t used for treating afib itself, other than keeping the fast afib from transmitting to the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart) and causing life-threatening issues. Pacemakers are generally for other types of beats that are regular, usually the slow beats (bradycardia). The electrophysiologist should be able to judge whether or not you need a pacemaker, but you may wish to do your homework first so that you don’t end up with an AV node ablation. See our story here for more details:

      AV Node Ablation: Why You Shouldn’t Have It


  • marian says:


    Thanks for the advice about AV Node ablation. I see the EP soon and will keep it in mind. Also, have u ever heard of a mild case of sleep apnea causing A=Fib.
    I had a sleep study and they said I didn’t have enough to cause my A-Fib. I’d like to have another study done because some nights I snore much much more than others and maybe I didn’t snore as much during the little sleep I got during the study.

    Thank you,

  • Aubrey Lindsey says:

    I just had an left Atrial Ablation for persistant AFIB. I woke up from the proceedure and immediately felt like a million dollars. I had been in continuous AFIB for many months before the ablation, and couldn’t believe how relieved I was to be back in Rythym. The proceedure was not that bad and I did not even require pain meds at all afterwards. My proceedure was done at Memorial Herman Medical Center in Houstn, TX at their Cardio Vascular Institute. I highly recommend them for the great service I received. Now I am going to do the CPAP portion of my APNEA test since I was also diagnosed with mild Sleep APNEA prior to the Ablation.
    Hope this helps anyone considering an Ablation for AFIB. I’d do it again in a “Heartbeat”.

    • Barbara Costley says:

      Aubrey, I also am in atgrial fibrillation. We are not sure how long somewhere between July, 2012 and January, 2013. I have had a cardio version and also was on Multaq, neither were successful. I was diagnosed with severe OSA in March, 2013 and have been on the CPAP machine for 2 weeks. My cardiologist wants to wait for 3 months before trying anything else to try to convert me. I also am in Houston. Please let me know who did your ablation as I am considering going to a electrophysiologist.

    • Patty says:

      I have mitral stenosis .I have had 6 episodes of a fib.i have been cardioverted 5 times. All my episodes start during sleep. Could the stenosis be a red herring?

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Patty, It could be that you have sleep apnea, which is causing afib, which is contributing to the mitral issues. You may be interested in speaking to your doctor about that as a possibility.


    • Mellanie says:


      “Is there anyone who has paralyzed diaphram after byPass surgery with AFib and OSA?”

      Can you elaborate to help us better understand your question?


  • Gary says:

    I am a 34 yr old male. Was diagnosed with paroxysmal A-Fib 2 yrs ago after I went to the ER with tachycardia. I did not need to be cardioverted, but was given about 4 hrs of medication via drip to get me back to “normal”. Previous to this incident I was seeing a cardiologists and having the routine tests done. All came back as a “normal and healthy” 32 yr old. I knew I was having weird sensations that were not right, but they never seemed to happen when I was actually being watched or tested, go figure. They were all telling me it was just anxiety. I have medication that I can take if I have any symptoms. I seem to go without any hiccups its seem for weeks, if not months, then all of a sudden, starting with last week, I am waking up in the middle of the night, feeling like I was holding my breath. 2 days ago this was accompanied with 2 hrs of A-fib or another arryhthmia. Really got me worried, being 34 and in decent shape and all. I find this correlation between these 2 conditions interesting and just want some answers. I will be seeing my doctor (new) about this and see what else can be tested.

  • Dennis says:

    I have had a-fib for years. Usually 4-6 attacks a year lasting several days. I am on Flecanide which seems to help with controlling it. In late July I had an episode that went on for ten days. I had a cardioversion to get me out of it. At the end of the cardioversion, the doctor said I should have a sleep study done. I did, and was found to have sever sleep apnea. I have not had an episode now for 11 weeks since I have been using the CPAP. I am cautiosly optimistic.

  • Jackie says:

    I am actually the reverse of many of our posters here on the forum. I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea about a year ago and was prescribed a CPAP machine. I tried to use it, but eventually just gave up on it. Then I had my first, and hopefully only A-fib episode this past December. As soon as they found out that I wasn’t using my CPAP, they agreed that that may have very well been the cause of me going into A-fib. The A-fib episode scared me so badly (my heart was as high as 234 at one point), that I began using my CPAP there in the hospital and haven’t stopped since. I have already begun to see the daytime fatigue fading away and some of my mental capacities such as memory come back, as well as having just the basic energy level to do chores, etc. In the past I had been napping quite often. I continue to have what appears to be A-flutter, but no A-fib again yet, although it has only been about 30 days. My cardiologist hopes that if I resolve the apnea, through weight loss, that hopefully the A-fib won’t come back and I will be in a better state of health overall. I never knew how dangerous sleep apnea was until I ingored it….

  • heidi says:

    Does sleep apnea have to be a certain severity to cause afib?
    I have had 4 sleep studies- one doc say I have mild OSA and can be th cause of the arrhythmia another says it isn’t bad enough to cause my afib and other arrhythmia. I have been on and off CPAP twice now, no doctor can agree whether I have obstructive sleep apnea, my last study showed an increase in central apneas but not that much of an increase and they say that is because I was on CPAP. I am already prone to arrhythmias due to congenital heart defect ( ASD) and have bi-vent paemaker. all of my doctors do agree that sleep apnea has to be very bad to cause afib. but they don’t agree on whether CPAP would help or hurt me. CPAP seems to help me some days but not others so sleep doc wants me on it but pulmonologist says no. I am confused.

  • julie says:

    This is a “chicken and egg” thing for me. After I was diagnosed with A-Fib, a doctor suggested having a sleep study done but my arrhythmia was so frequent and long-lasting that they recommended an ablation ASAP. I had a cryo-ablation done at Baylor’s heart hospital in Dallas last week.

    One of the first things I’ve noticed is how much better I’m sleeping and that I’m waking up easier and feeling rested. I have problems with fatigue because of auto-immune diseases. I tire easily and feel like my bones are made of lead at random times. But when the A-Fib started, I mostly got the worst of it at night or early in the morning. I awoke feeling as though I’d been fighting battles!

    So, did sleep apnea cause my A-Fib or did the A-Fib mess up my ability to sleep well and provoke apnea? I don’t know. My doctor at Baylor said I had an electrical problem in my heart and was likely born with it. We don’t know what set it off.

    For those considering ablation, I have to say it’s not nearly as bad as the internet articles make it sound. First off, I was given general anaesthesia and wasn’t awake. Secondly, if you can, have the cryo-ablation done instead of the older, electrode version. Apparently, cryo has a much higher success rate and fewer possible complications. It’s only been FDA-approved in the US for about a year, I believe, so it may be harder to find a hospital that offers it. That’s why I went to Baylor.

    • Dick says:

      The comments from julie touch on a question I have been wondering about recently. I had been coping with atrial fibrilation for about 20 years ( on and off). About 7 yrs ago it became continuous. Tried medication and electric conversion with no permanent results. Took sleep test and was diagnosed with sleep apnea and went on CPAP therapy. I still have not adapted to the mask, and lose more sleep because of that problem than I did from sleep apnea. I had ablation done almost 4 months ago.
      I had a couple of fibrilation episodes within 2-3 weeks after the procedure,but have been ok for almost 3 months now.
      In the meantime,for unrelated reasons , I have not used my cpap machine. I have not noticed any apparent apnea issues during this time.
      I`m wondering if the fibrillation problem was causing the sleep apnea,rather than the opposite.

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Dick,
      You may be interested in getting involved in our discussion forum when it is back up and running. It’s currently down for maintenence. There are others on the forum with sleep apnea with whom you can get ideas for getting the mask to work. That’s important for helping avoid having afib coming back after catheter ablation. Afib episodes are normal during the 2-3 months after catheter ablation–they are caused by the heart being inflamed, but that goes away as it heals. Also, realize that a person may not feel apnea, but it’s still there. It’s highly unlikely that afib caused the sleep apnea.


  • jlwyatt11 says:

    I was diagnose with sleep apnea in 2008. I have been using my CPAP faithfully since. I have had 4 episodes of afib. in last 11 years, at intervals of 3 to  4 years. The 1st two times in 2000 and 2004 I went back into sinus fib or regular rhythem on my own. The last two times I decided to go to the hospital and both times they said I have afib. I asked why if it episodic? They said basically better safe than sorry to take Calcium blockers. I’ve been worried  about taking this medicine since. Has anyone else had this experience. IS there a support group somewhere?

  • xanadu13 says:

    I accidently stumbled on this blog today when looking for the just released connection of sleep apnea and cancer. As a dual AF and sleep apnea sufferer for over 10 years, and 24/7 with AF since my use of Cordarone was stopped over 4 years ago (feared and possibly resultant toxicity) I will be reading all comments and following as well as answering any question posed. Right now I want to find the cancer connection study to have some cause for nightmares tonight.. 

  • gustooo says:

    I began having strange episodes of heart flutter, shortness of breath in Feb. of 2012. Had a battery of test of my heart that showed no worrisome areas, just a slight enlargement  of one ventricle. On a follow up visit, a random EKG showed the problem, A-Fib. How it was missed is beyond me, considering the extensive testing done. First line of attack, medication. Toporol XL and a blood pressure medicine. Was already on Warrafin because of a pulmonary embolism I had after a third total hip replacement operation. Things were in check until two nights after the insurance provider switched me to generic Toprol XL, i had heart failure and ended up in emergency room and had electric shock of the heart to return to normal rhythm. (this corrected the problem for 3 days, then back into AFib). Doctors say “just coincidence” with generic.
      Doctor sent me for sleep study, results showed 28 apnea episodes and hour, and I have just received CPAP machine last week. Doctor also said to find a Dr. to do an ablation. I told her I will use CPAP for a few months, then find ablation Dr. if stlll necessary. Hope better sleep has a positive affect on the AFIB.
    Will keep y’all  posted…
    CAM near Charlottesville VA.

    • Carol Masser says:

      Reading through the forum and saw the post and your address. I too have sleep apnea and Afib. Do go to the cardiovascular clinic at UVA – fantastic, supportive staff!

  • pstringer says:

    I have had years of very poor sleep and over the past three years been diagnosed with Atrial fibrilation which has been hard to control. While I was waiting for a Pulmonary Vein Isolation procedure my cardiologist asked if I “had any other health problems”. For some reason I mentioned my terrible sleep problem first and thought he was stalling for time when he suggested that I have checks for sleep apenoa. Seems I have severe sleep apenoa with 49 sleep disturbances in any one hour…..I am now waiting to get a CPAP machine and CAN’T WAIT..this may do away with the need for a PVI. At the very least if it works I should feel much better. I was at the end of my tether with the AF and totally exhaused all the time. Wish me luck and go get your sleep checked if you have AF.

    • mmoss_stopafib says:

       @pstringer I’m glad to hear you’ve found that a CPAP could help you feel better! I hope this helps you feel great and makes you healthier. Keep us updated!

  • valman07 says:

    Just found out I have mild to moderate sleep apnea. Could this be the cause of my Lone Atrial Fibrilation? Also, I’m not sure if this is realted, but I have had no experience with asthma or bronchitits however, everytime I get a chest x-ray done it reads peribronchial soft-tissue thickening. Could all of this be related? I’m a 35 yr old male, i exercise avidly but I can’t figure out what started my Lone Afib. Anybody have any perspective on this? I’d be truly greatful for your point of view. Thanks.

  • Arend Stolte says:

    I have both sleep apnea and Atrial Fibrilation. I was dianosed with sleep apnea about eight years ago and have used a CPAP machine ever since. My Atrial Fibrilation was diagnosed six years ago. Originally it was triggered by Norvasc, the high blood pressure medication. Recently I’ve noticed that more things triggers it; one or more drinks, accidently inhalling solvents such as spray paints, Adalat, another calcium channel blocker, and hydrochlorotiazide, a water pill. My doctors are sceptical that these can bring on episodes but for me it’s simply a case of cause and effect. To prove it to my cardiologist I took a dose of Adalat while on a Holter Monitor and right on cue I had an eppisode five hour later. My episodes used to last only a few hours but now last several days. I’m wondering if anyone else has seen a connection between prescription drugs such as these and A-Fib. It seems to go against conventional wisdom among doctors.

    • Bill Northcott says:

      This is my experience for what it is worth. I am 64 years old, and in late 2011 I was in hospital 5 times in 2 months with A-fib. I got given Amioderone in the short term then that was exchanged for Flecainide and a calcium channel blocker. I heap of tests showed nothing wrong with my heart, and no other obvious cause. Since I am not overweight and very fit for my age I got progressively more pissed off with the doctors. In the end, it was a respiratory specialist I was seeing because of very long standing asthma, who listened to my symptoms and sent me to the sleep doctors. I was on the borderline of moderate to severe sleep apnea. My O2 sat was dropping as low as 86%. As I have read, it is low oxygen that causes the heart damage which leads to A-fib.
      Looking back, I had a laundry list of sleep apnea symptoms many of which I had complained of to doctors: morning headaches verging on mild migraines, inability to concentrate, loss of memory, and lapses of concentration. Five years ago I had a bad skiing accident. I stopped on a steep mogul slope for my companion to catch up and fell straight down the slope mashing my shoulder. I am now sure that I had a micro sleep. I was also hitting walls and bollards in car parks while and I am now sure this had had the same cause.
      I got a CPAP machine in December 2011. It took me 2 months, five different masks and much playing with settings to get happy with it. So if you are finding it difficult keep trying. The result has been worth it. The headaches are gone, I don’t forget things any more. I can concentrate an don’t have micro sleeps. Most importantly, I do not have A-fib any more. Since using CPAP, I had one very mild episode back at the beginning of July 2012 and it went away in a couple of hours.
      I was very disappointed by the cardiologist. When I told him I had sleep apnea he said, “Yes, that would do it.” Why did he not suggest it, particularly as he knew about the morning headaches and other symptoms.
      My takeaway is that most doctors think that only obese people have sleep apnea. This is rubbish. I you have A-fib demand a sleep test particularly if the A-fib episodes start in the early morning.
      I am unhappy taking the drugs, particularly the calcium channel blocker, and I am looking for a new cardiologist.

  • Ronnie says:

    I had all the symptoms of A fib, and I was feeling sleepy and down at the same time my A fib symptoms picked up. I returned to using my CPAP machine for the first time last night, and today for the first time in weeks my strong pulse, irregular heartbeat, and high bp were not present when I woke up. I also felt well rested. I had stopped using the CPAP because I lost weight, but after putting 15 pounds back on apparently I need it again. Feels like a strong correlation to me, I guess the constant stress of having your airway cut off when unconscious and waking up startled causes it.

  • Paula says:

    My husband had a mild stroke in October, he also found out that he was in A-Fibb and his cardiologist thought that he had been in Afibb for the last year or more. He was cardioverted two seperate times but it did not take on him. We saw a specialist regarding the ablation procedure and was told that he needed to be tested for sleep apnea. Three sleep studies later he was diagnoised as having complex sleep apnea which is obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. He received his bi-pap machine and adjusted to it very fast with no difficulty and has used it every night after receiving it, he has had it for almost 2 weeks now. He is due to get the ablation procedure done in 3 days and we are hoping that this procedure gets him out of a-fibb. We have noticed that over the last few days that his blood pressure has been lower as well as his heart rate. I am wondering if this is due to him useing his sleep machine, I guess only time will tell.

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Paula,
      Yes, sleep apnea raises blood pressure, but using a CPAP machine brings it back down to normal. I hope your husband’s procedure goes well. Also, you may be interested in joining the discussion forum for more on this topic and many others. To get to the Discussion Forum, go to: To post or ask questions, you’ll need to register. Instructions for registering and getting started are here:

  • Nancy says:

    I was first diagnosed with Afib in 2009, while in the hospital overnight. It self-corrected just as the doctor was explaining to me that he could and would shock me back into rhythm. He sent me to have a sleep study, but it was “inconclusive” so they wanted me to do it again. That bill went to collections, and now I have a judgment against me because of it. I never did the second test.

    I have left it untreated ever since, because I did not have insurance. I got insurance in 2012, but I had a pre-existing condition.

    Now I have been told that I’m in A-fib again, first in February and again now the beginning of May. I went back to my cardiologist from 2009, and he wants to believe that I have sleep apnea. I can’t afford the sleep study, and I’m not sure the insurance will cover it. My heart rate is averaging 90 bpm at rest, and I’m tired all the time. I’m 45.

    I want to feel better, but I can’t afford the sleep test, and I’m not convinced I have sleep apnea.

    Your advice is welcome!

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for sharing your story. Getting the proper treatment can be a struggle. You may be interested in sharing your story on our discussion forum. To get to the Discussion Forum, go to: To post or ask questions, you’ll need to register. Instructions for registering and getting started are here: Many folks here may be offer to share the insights they have gained in going through similar processes. Additionally, The American Sleep Apnea Association ( may be a helpful resource for you in learning more about sleep apnea.


  • JERRY CURRAN says:


  • Debbie Karlsen says:

    I have had Afib since the 1970s and had a sleep study test about 20 years ago and was never told I had sleep apnea. I went to a new neurologist and he ordered another sleep test because I also have epilepsy. I was told I do have sleep apnea and that it does have an affect with Afib. He wants me to try a CPAP for my apnea but told me that since I have had Afib for so long, it won’t cure it. I don’t which came first, Afib or sleep apnea. Oh well, I now have to schedule an appointment to try a CPAP. I am not happy because I am clostrophobic. This was an eye opener for me today.

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Debbie,
      There are many other afib patients with sleep apnea. Also, Mellanie was claustrophobic, but she adapted very quickly to the CPAP and now doesn’t want to sleep without it. You may be interested in discussing this over on our patient discussion forum. To get to the Discussion Forum, go to: To post or ask questions, you’ll need to register. Instructions for registering and getting started are here:


    • Missy says:

      So there’s hope for me! Never had a heart issue until my first afib episode in January and again in May. Found out I had sleep apnea and I am trying to get use to my CPAP machine. Hopefully I won’t have anymore afib episodes. I don’t want to have ablation and I would like to get off the Multaq which makes me feel horrible!

    • Juan Rosell says:

      I’ve had sleep apnea now for approximatelly 20 years, and in the last two years I developed A-Fib. I had the sleep study done due to my A-Fib.
      I was prescribed a CPAP machine and I thought I wasn’t going to be able to sleep with this mask on my face. Let me tell you, I love my machine, I can’t sleep without it. It is the best thing that happened to me, I used to fall assleep on my job and get reprimended for it, I fell asleep everywhere, sitting in church, at the movies, except at a traffic light, everywhere else. I am not exagerating. I have a lot of energy, I wake up refreshed. You never know it can change your life.

    • Donna says:

      About claustrophobia, that was a hurdle to overcome at first with the CPAP mask. I felt I couldn’t breathe with it on. After several tries, I realized that I actually CAN breathe with it on, whether or not the machine is on. There are several holes on the mask for breathing and for air to escape. Maybe holding the mask in place briefly by hand and breathing through it, then increasing the time will help those who are claustrophobic. It is a very real fear, but can be overcome. And using a CPAP is important if you have sleep apnea.

  • Jeanne says:

    I have had Afib for the last 5 years, with very symptomatic episodes about 4 times a year. My cardiologists physician’s assistant suggested I might have sleep apnea and that I should be tested. I have severe sleep apnea and since starting my CPap 6 months ago, I have NOT had an episode of Afib!

    Getting used to the mask took almost 2 months, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. I feel so much better and have more energy. I encourage any who are suffering from sleep apnea to stick with the therapy. You’ll be glad you did!

    • Donna says:

      Jeanne, your afib sounds a little like mine. I usually get two 24 hr episodes of afib a month, which make me very tired and sick. I didn’t have sleep apnea symptoms at first but recently was tested again and prescribed a CPAP machine, which I hated and wanted to toss out the window. But I persisted and started using it regularly. I have had some very good nights sleep and feel like living in the morning. Plus I went a month without an afib episode. It resolved by itself in about 18 hours. I want to encourage others to keep trying to sleep using the CPAP. You will get used to it and it may help your afib and take the strain off your heart.

  • RonH says:

    I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea five years ago and started cpap immediately. I was then diagnosed with AFib in 2014 and after no success with medications, I went for cardioversion the middle of the year. That did not work either but I learned that sleep apnea and anaesthesia do not good bedmates make. Apparently I stopped breathing under the anaesthetic, prompting a rapid search for equipment to restart me. My sleep apnea and cpap use were on my admission info but were apparently missed. CAUTION. If you are on cpap and are having a procedure, make sure that the surgeon is fully aware of your sleep apnea.
    As for the AFib,it is continuous although it causes me no discomfort. Apparently you can adapt to it. I realize that the two conditions together increase the risk of heart failure or stroke but I am in my seventies. I just hope that my experience of the breathing crisis helps someone else and maybe even saves a life or two

  • Dan says:

    I have this terrible disease since 1992. I was 26 when I had my first episode of AFib. Then there was a break of 18 years and in 2010 I had 2-3 episodes per year (maximum 36 hours each), all medical converted to sinus rhythm. This year, unfortunately, AFib episodes have increased, which made ​​me think seriously to ablation. I had AFib episodes almost every night. The electrophysiologist/arythmologist advised me to make a study of the sleep and after this, they discovered that I have severe OSA. I started CPAP therapy for about 3 weeks, I had two short crises at the beginning of therapy, but now, for more than a week, I feel better, but as another friend written above , I am cautiously optimistic.

    Excuse my poor english, I’m not english speaker, I’m romanian.

    • jan says:

      Dear Dan, If you continue to have these episodes and you htink you want ablation, think again. I have one of the most respected and educated eletrophysiologists in the nusiness and I have had 3 ablations and I swear I get worse each time instead of better. They said the only thing they could do is give me a pacemaker and see if that would correct my afib. I told them go to you know where and I also have osa and I use my cpap faithfully. Really think the ablation thing over really well before you choose that route. As long as people can get a clue what you are talking about you’re lingo is good.

    • Jay Nonnenmocher says:

      A pacemaker will NOT fix your a fib but Might mitigate some of the symptoms. My pacemaker did nothing for me. Good call n not getting one!

  • Pete says:

    Concerning OSA and weight. You don’t have to be heavy to have OSA, although losing weight helps. The reason is that you can have OSA as a result of the structure of your jaw (bottom jaw set back) and other physical features measured by something called the Mallampati Score (Google it). As you get older, things loosen up and it can trigger OSA, particularly if you have the physical features above. If you gain a slight amount of weight and have these features it can trigger OSA. If you take tranquilizers or drink alcohol before bed it will do the same thing.

    So, combinations of things can set you up for OSA and afib. Other medical issues up your chances. I notice many medical websites miss these interrelationships.

    • Dan says:

      Yes, it’s my case: I’m 188 cm tall, 108 kilos, but the otorhinolaryngologist told me (after the endoscopy) that my larynx is the cause of my OSA. However, he told me that I must to loose at least 15 kilos to see an improvement. For now it’s very dufficult to me to dieting and I preffer my CPAP, who make me “turbo-man”. :)))))

  • Marlin says:

    I had a bout of A-Fib last July. I’m 58 with no previous heart problems. It scared the bejeebers out of me. My cardiologist did a cardio-version at the hospital. When I woke up the anesthesiologist said, “man, you have sleep apnea really bad”. The cardiologist told me to have a sleep study performed immediately, which I did. It confirmed the OSA suspicion. The first couple of nights using a CPAP I grumbled and cursed and didn’t sleep at all. I was ready to throw the stupid machine out the window. It took about a month using the nasal pillows & adjusting the settings…then BAM…the best night’s sleep I’ve had in recent memory. For the past 9 months, I HAVE FELT GREAT! Slept like a baby, lots more energy and NO A-FIB. I am a CPAP convert!
    In my case, I truly believe there is an OSA and A-FIB connection. (Don’t give up on the CPAP)

    • rogerbran18 says:

      I don’t have OSA, but I am a very shallow breather and probably more so when asleep. The sleep study did not show sleep apnea, but since I had symptoms of it, mainly fatigue during the day as if I had no or only little sleep the night before, I insisted on a CPAP machine even though I had to pay for it out of pocket.

      I also have afib, and I hoped the CPAP would help in that regard.

      It’s been a real problem getting used to the full mask but since I’m a mouth breather I can’t use the nasal pillow. Most nights I end up taking it off in order to fall asleep so I probably only have it on an hour or so.

      I’m going to make a renewed effort to try to get used to it because I really think it could make a difference not only in dealing with daytime fatigue but my paroxysmal afib as well.

    • Aurora says:

      Hi, in regard to the CPAP mask being unbearable to wear you can order a soft mask made of fabric, I think it’s called “Sleepweaver”. Ask your CPAP company or your physician. Good Luck.

    • Kelly says:

      I love the masks from Circacadian of which the “Sleepweaver” is one. You can sleep on your stomach again! Plus, they are a lot cheaper than other “mainstream” brands!

  • Russell says:

    I have occasional afib lasting about 4 hours every 2 weeks. I also snore and am overweight (225#, 5’11”). Havent had a sleep study yet but will get one. Mostly interested in the cause of afib in patients with sleep apnea. Doubt it is related to increased blood pressure. Rather, afib is known to be associated in people with enlarged atria. When you have sleep apnea tou obstruct at the throat and then very strongly expand rib cage and lower diaphragm which makes a strong negative pressure in the chest. This sucks blood into the atria, stretching them, and making you succeptabke to afib. Conversly, a skeep apnea machine provides continous pisitive pressure to the chest which pushes blood out of atria makjng them smaller and less susceptible to afib. I am an anesthesiologist by the way.

    • Melissa says:

      Russell, Thanks for your insights. You raise an interesting question about what is the cause of afib in patients with sleep apnea, but from what we have learned there is not a set of known causes of afib. There are risk factors, and sleep apnea and afib are certain closely related. You may be interested in posing this question on our patient discussion forum.


    • Charlotte s Laspada says:

      Russell I have just been diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea and also afib..not on a machine yet, but scheduled for a cryoablation in a few weeks for the afib. I dont want to take meds and hoping the ablation will fix my problem..just wondering if the sleep apnea will cause future afib after the ablation..

  • Robert McGrath says:

    First AFIB bout was 9/2014. Steady 140 beats for 36 hours before I got help. Cardioversion and now on Xarelto and Flecainide. I now believe I was having mild AFIB at least two years before. I put them down as indigestion because they happened in afternoon after eating. “Vagas Nerve stimulation”. Second AFIB was after waking six months later, had headache and severe fuzzy mental. I knew something wasn’t right. I had bought an Alivecor device and it showed 120 beats and Atrial flutter. That lasted a few hours and went into AFIB. EP tried to chemical convert rhythm by doubling Flecainide, NOPE, another Cardioversion. Got Sleep testing and have 77 hypopneas an hour with oxygen desaturation down to 70%. I hope to get CPAP Machine in about a week.

    • Melissa says:

      Robert, thanks for sharing. I hope the CPAP will help you, and we know that treating sleep apnea is very important in managing atrial fibrillation. You may also be interested in joining our afib discussion forum to learn about how others are managing their afib, too.

    • Kenny says:

      I was in a fib off and on for two years and cardioverted twice. After having a sleep study done it was found that I have sleep apnea. Been using the c pap for three years and no more episodes. I hope this is the end. would highly recomend a sleep study for anyone in a fib.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Donna,

      You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate.

      I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Karen Ostby says:

    I’ve had afib for 8 yrs., treated successfully with heart meds, blood thinner, 1 cardioversion until 9/14 when I was in afib until early Dec. Sotolol was added, Metropolol eliminated. A sleep study ON 1/1/15 revealed central sleep apnea. A 3rd. Sleep study should set pressures on my CPAP machine, at last!

    • Alice says:

      Hi there – I too was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea with one event of CSA. I was told the CSA was treated differently as you actually stop breathing with this. How have you been treated?

  • Dave West says:

    I am encouraged by all the postings about a possible or proven connection between Afib and sleep apnea. I am currently undergoing routine cardiology and respiratory tests on my heart, heart rate and sleep patterns and hope that this leads to a cardioversion reverse of my Afib plus being set up with a CPAP machine, no matter how long it takes to get used to this unpleasant night-time solution.
    I have been a road runner for more than 30 years and until very recently have run three miles or so every day part-way through my home-based daywork, though I’m largely semi-retired.
    When I mentioned to a family member that despite being very fit I was finding myself a little short of breath and my wife also chipped in about waking her up with sleep interruptions lasting up to 20 seconds a time I was advised to go for an ECG.This came back ‘abnormal’.
    I have now also had an echocardiogram, to check the structure of the heart, and will soon have home trials of ECG to check my heart-rate over a 24-hour period.
    Also a home sleep trial (which I insisted on after taking advice), in which I am asked to record my sleep patterns over a two-week period prior to being fitted with a monitor that I will use in another home trial.
    Because of running, my resting pulse rate is a low 54/58. But when my heart ‘flutters’ it can go up to 120!
    I have convinced myself that there may well be a connection between AF and sleep apnea, though I am not a medic. Some doctors I have spoken to so far don’t seem willing to move beyond saying that this is ‘possible’.
    But even if there is no connection, I still need both problems fixed!
    It makes sense to me that if I have several/many instances per night of stopping breathing, therefore starving my cardiovascular system of oxygen, this will interfere with the correct functioning of the heart.
    The danger, I am told, of AF is that because the blood is not being pumped out of the heart smoothly it can swirl around and possibly form clots, one of which could travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
    I am on a blood thinner for four weeks for this reason and also a beta-blocker to control the periodic ‘flutterings’ of the heart, due I am told to many diverse and conflicting signals from the heart’s cells, rather than just the normal impulses that come from the sinus node.
    I’m learning about all this every day and hope that people like me who believe that there is a connection will continue to seek medical advice and corrective treatment for both conditions, whether they are connected or not.
    My wife deserves a better night’s sleep – even in an adjoining room! And I want to get back on the road!

    The best to all,


    • ak260 says:

      I have been in permanent afib for about 5 years. Lifetime athlete, still riding a stationary bike for 40 minutes a day. Now 73. Proven central sleep apnea for 5 years, but I believe I had it for years without knowing it, and I, like you, believe the apnea caused the afib. I take metoprolol to control heartbeat, and warfarin, as well as levothyroxin for low thyroid, which also seems related to me. I use a vpap at night with a full face mask. Fortunately, I am used to protective face gear from my years of football, so I have been able to adjust pretty well. My biggest concern now is dealing with all the side effects of all the medications. Until this started, I didn’t even take aspirin.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi ak260,

      Thank you for sharing your story and your concern with the sleep apnea and AF correlation and the potential side effects of all of your medications. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. Best of luck to you!

  • Drew says:

    My wife has told me for years that I have sleep apnea and in July 15 was diagnosed AF. I am 60 but had been keeping pretty fit and could comfortably run 5k and get involved in fitness classes. 0n 3 occasions over a 4 week period I was unable to complete 5k and felt out of breath and fatigued. ECG confirmed AF bloods normal, heart scan showed heart function to be normal. Cardiologist considering cardio version if change in meds do not allow me to engage in previous physical activities. No one has asked the sleep apnea question. I have to email cardiologist with results when I attempt to step up fitness activities so I will mention this

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Drew,

      Thank you for sharing your story and your concern with the sleep apnea and AF correlation. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.


    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Charles,

      Thank you for sharing your questions and concerns regarding your possible afib and your sleep apnea. We are so sorry to hear about your wife and your problems with lack of sleep, panic attacks, etc. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Lynn says:

    Hi Melanie, I had ( have my Dad is still alive) two parents that have afib, but this didnt happen until they were in their 70s. They were both overweight and never ate right or exercise. I am 54 yrs old I eat very healthy and am pretty active. I was awaken twice now from a sound sleep in the middle of the night with Afib. I went to the ER after my heart was beating fast for two hrs snd I was very light headed even while laying down. Its very scary especially if you live alone. That was Dec 21 st Cardioligist diagnosed me and I spent 2 days in the hospital. He sent me home with 180 mg of Cardizem and told me take one baby aspirin a day. I have no risk factors according too the Chads guidlines. So it turned out med dosage was to strong walked around in a fog , Couldnt perform well at work. My primary dr reduced the dosage too 120 mg which is 100 percent better. fast forward three months and I’m sound asleep 2 o’clock in the morning I’m woken up by a rapid heartbeat again this time I got it to slow down by drinking water eating a banana and then it was a little erratic so I had my friend bring me to the ER.I was in the hospital for 12 hours my heart rate was 128 when I got there the cardiologists came in and he checked me. I told him about the electrophysiologist and the ablation. And I had a consultation with this Dr. He explained everything about it but for a month he wanted too put me on Xeralto, Flacide and keep me taking Cardizem. When I told him I wanted Warrfrin instead he told me his office doesnt monitor cumaden. This is a sign of a dr whos in it for the kickbacks from the pharmaceutical companues, anyway my point is this has happened both times while in a deep sleep.
    Thank you for this site it has been very helpful.


    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Lynn,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your concerns. WE are so glad the website has been helpful to you. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

    • Alice says:

      Hi Lynn – your story sounds like mine. You can message me your number and I will fill you in on what I’ve done.

    • Jody Thornsberry says:

      Hi Alice! I was recently diagnosed with afib. I’ve had very brief bouts of it (like 15 seconds) for a while but 2 weeks ago I woke up from a deep sleep with it racing and beating erratically. I went to the ER and it was going 160-180 BPM. Thankfully, it went back into rythym within an hour of being given cardizem. This is scary!

  • Ulysses Grant says:

    I am 43, I was recently diagnosed with Astral Fibrillation. It was discovered accidentally when I had my random physical exam. I had to go through few diagnosis and concluded that I have a persistent Afib. The funny thing is I don’t feel any symptoms (except being sleepy but I always have season allergies) and my resting heart rate goes between 49-54 bps. It puzzled my cardiologist so he sent me to do a sleep study which concluded that I have Moderate Central Sleep Apnea. I started using CPAP a month ago but my average AHI is around 10 which is still pretty high for someone who is using CPAP and the pressure is set to 8.
    I found out that my sleeping position could affects my AHI levels. These past few days, I have been sleeping on lateral position the AHI down to 3.x. Last night, it went down to 0.6. I started placing soft pillow between my legs which would help me not to move away from my position. It has been working so far.
    In few weeks, I am getting my cardioversion which hopefully will put my heart back to normal rhythm.
    Overall, I think that random checkup saved my life because if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t know that I have afib and sleep apnea.
    So far, being on CPAP has been very great. Each morning, I felt great and energize. I think it is just a matter of getting used to it. I was worried when the sleep study staff told me that CPAP may not be the one for me and I may be put on oxygen treatment. This website has helped me reach out to others by reading their stories and experiences. I don’t mind being on CPAP for the rest of my life and this could be the solution from why I had always been a sleepy head since I was a little boy.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Ulysses,

      You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and experience there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.

      You can view a how-to video here:

      There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. For more information on afib and afib management, we have many resources available to you.

      • News Stories on afib
      • Patient Resources at
      • Afib Blog
      • Video Presentations from the 2015 Atrial Fibrillation Patient Event

      Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • John Karlson says:

    Been on c-pap for 15 years, have A-Rod for at least 20 yesrs, but never felt it. Found out during yearly physical. Presently on Easton (9 milgrams per day) and metropolo. Heart assoc., Not recommending margin anymore – seeing my cardiologist next month for new drugs.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi John,

      Perhaps you’d like to consider joining our patient forum so that you can connect with others, ask your questions, share your stories, and learn more about living with afib. It is located at Please email us at [email protected] if you need any help registering or have more questions.

      We wish you good health and sinus rhythm.

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