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Avatar universal
Feels like heart stops while under CPAP treatment
Hi,

I am a 28 year old male who was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2005.  I have been utilizing my CPAP treatment since my diagnosis and until this year, when I moved and began seeing a new doctor, I have had my machine on automatic titration.  My new doctor said that this was not a good thing and I went through a titration study.  My machine is now set to a setting of 9.  

Previously, when my machine was on automatic, my machine was exerting pressures to 22 at certain points in time throughout the night.  

Sometimes when I fall asleep, and sometimes when I am a few hours into sleep, I am awakened by a "thud" that feels as though my body has shut down entirely and my heart has stopped.  It is the most frightening thing I have EVER experienced and it takes an almost sleepless night to finally fall asleep.  I will use a Pure Sleep oral device in conjunction with my CPAP to finally fall, and/or fall back asleep...without it I feel my throat close over.  I mentioned this to my new doctor's office and was given a chin strap.  Upon returning, he convinced me that it was due to my manibular position and anxiety, and that I was probably not wearing my chin strap every night.  I am now experiencing these extremely frightening problem with the chin strap on each time, and when I feel cool as clyde while falling asleep...so I know that it is not the problem.

Do I need another study? What type?  What are your thoughts regarding automatic titration vs. setting the titration to a constant setting?  Do some people require oral devices in conjunction with CPAP treatment?  

Thank you for your opinion.

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Avatar universal
I should note that the "thud" I describe above is accompanied with my entire body shaking and shuttering.  It is 4 am the night after my last post and it has woken me out of bed.

My back has been bothering me for sometime...in fact I used to think that it was my back that was causing me the extreme discomfort and waking me from my sleep before I was tested for the apnea.  Still, I wind up snorting as I awake, sometimes gasping for air, and my heart races.  Because the pain is in the center of my back/ bottom of my neck, I can't tell if there could be something going on with my back or if it is all due to the sleep apnea.  Recently I have noticed, while being completely awake, that I will get a similar shuttering sensation, a flutter of my heart, and feel like I am going to pass out, and correcting my posture (I'm always slouching forward) helps significantly.  My back and neck are stiff.  

Any sense in getting an MRI?  Seeing a neurologist or orthopedist?

I really appreciate a response.  The sensations I am describing feel serious and are really SCARY...its not like basic back pain...I wake up feeling like I am about to have a heart attack or just shut down...my body shakes some.  

I am just wondering if something in my spine could be triggering the episode, maybe in conjunction with apnea, given what I have mentioned.  

Thank you.
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Avatar universal
Hi...First and foremost I am not a Dr.  But, I do have Sleep Apnea and what you describe sounds to me like (don't want to scare you) you MAY have a heart condition.  My Sleep Apnea caused me to have an arrithmia (sp) and some of the symptons you describe sound to me like it may be affecting your heart.  Apnea does affect the heart.  Are  you sleeping with the CPAP?  If it were me I would see a heart specialist.  I'm sure  you will get all kinds of answers but this sounds familiar to me.  If you have other questions feel free to ask.  Sally
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Avatar universal
Sorry, I just re-read your note and I do see that you are using a CPCP.  You may also need oxygen along with the CPCP.  That is what I am considering at this time.  This also involve a second sleep study but is worth it.  
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