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Husband woke up choking from reflux
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Husband woke up choking from reflux

Last night was one of the scariest nights I've ever had.  I woke up from a sound sleep to find my husband gasping for air drooling into the trash can on the side of our bed.  I didn't know what was happening until he vomited and finally caught his breath.

He said that while he was sleeping he had belched up acid from his stomach and was choking on it.  He couldn't catch his breath because it must have went back down the wrong tube - similar to choking on your own vomit.  Thank goodness he's okay.  That was terrifying.

This has never happened before.  Ironically, I'm the one diagnosed with GERD.  He's had mild heartburn on occasion but never any problems with it.  And never at night.  

Is this likely a one time event (we did have lasagna for dinner last night) or is it likely to reoccur?  After the scare last night, I don't want either of us to have to go through this again.


Thanks for the help.
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5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hard to say if its a one-time event or not, but since he has had a pattern of mild heartburn, he probably has ongoing reflux problems. If you and he are not already doing it, you may want to follow a few simple rules:

1) Avoid caffiene, chocolate, alcohol and peppermint. They have the effect of weakening the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (the "LES"), which, if functioning properly, keeps acid from entering the esophagus.

2) Don't eat within three hours of going to bed. This gives your stomach and gravity a chance to move dinner from your stomach to your small intestines, and reduces the production of acid in your stomach.

3) Elevate the front of your bed with 6 or 8 inch blocks. This will let you sleep at a slight incline, and will let gravity help keep the acid where it belongs; in your stomach.

Although you describe your husband's heartburn as mild, it represent acid contact with the esophagus. The esophagus was never intended to have regular contact with acid, and it can begin to change the structure of the cells in the esophagus as a failed protection mechanism. This condition is commonly referred to as Barrett's esophagus, and is a pre-cancerous condition.

I would recommend that your husband schedule an appointment with the family doctor to describe the incident you refer to as well as the onging mild heartburn. His doctor may (probably should) order an endoscopy so they can get a good look at what is going on with the lining of the esophagus. There may be no problem there, but it is better to be safe than sorry. The long-term consequences of even mild heartburn can be dire.

Best of luck to the both of you,
Chicken Soup
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi I have had the same thing happen to me for several years.  My ENT Dr told me part of my nose problems was from the reflux. (It would come out my nose at night and choke me.)  I asked him how he knew I had reflux and he replied all I have to do is look inside your nose you need to do something about this.  I had a nissen fundo operation and not more heartburn.  Except know I have a lot of esophageal spasms and have trouble swallowing.  I had the operation for the hernia redone once and now it needs something done again.  Good luck.  It is very scary and you think you cannot ever get your breath again.
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Avatar_n_tn
My doctor told me to Avoid all red sauces. Lasagne has red sauce. Ketchup also.

If you have to have some red sauce dishes, do is sparingly and at lunch time and not dinner.  I have experienced what your hubby has gone through. (4 total)

It feels like you are drowning and one's heart rate indicates this. Thank God these episodes awaken me.

The worst offenders to me is RED sauces and chocolate. I also elevate the head of the bed by using bricks now.  This is VERY important to keep acid down.   I also take a little spoonful of Extra Strength Mylanta or Maalox before bedtime.  I buy Regular (orginal Flavor)as Mint flavored is not good for Reflux.  

Good Luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree 100% with everyone's comments & good advice!

I believe that what your husband experienced is called LARYNGOSPASM--also known as VCD/Vocal Cord Dysfunction. He should see (at least) a very good ENT doc (ear, nose & throat), who knows about how gastric reflux can cause laryngospasms/VCD attacks.

The most common cause of VCD/laryngospasms is a type of GERD called LPR (Laryngeal-Pharyngeal Reflux), which is a HIGHER UP type of reflux than the "heartburn" type of reflux. These laryngospasms/VCD attacks, can happen at ANY TIME, DAY OR NIGHT!

Check out page 10 of my VCD website, for some "GASTRIC REFLUX tips" to help control this LPR type of reflux. (Look for Appendix B). Here's a link:
<a href=http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com>http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com</a>

I used to experience the same kind of VCD attacks, which would wake me from a sound sleep--terrifying. But the VCD can be conquered. Check out my website, at <a href=http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com>http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com</a>

Good luck to you & your husband.

Sincerely,
Concerned lady
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Avatar_n_tn
For page 10, I meant to have this link:
<a href=http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com/page10.html>http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com/page10.html</a>

Concerned lady
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