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Pacemaker & Sleep Apnea

I've had a pacemaker for nearly 3 years and have a lot of problems with sleep for years. I toss & turn a lot during the night, wake frequently, sometimes wake up feeling out of breath, and wake up feeling like crap in the mornings. I suspect that I may have sleep apnea but have never been tested for it or even talked to my doctor about it. Is this problem something I should be tested for or does my pacemaker just kick in and keep me going if I quit breathing during the night?
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I also have an ICD, defibrillator with a pacemaker also.  Mine is designed so that if my heart is out of rhythm, too high, too low, the pacemaker will try to adjust my heart rate back to normal three times. If the third time doesn't work, the defibrillator will give me a "kick in the pants" so they say.  However, I have also had trouble sleeping for years, and FINALLY had a sleep study done, and I also have sleep apnea. There are two kinds of apnea, the traditional where people snore like crazy, then wake, (unknowingly) readjust, sleep, snore, wake, and on and on. The second kind is where your brain just "forgets" to tell the lungs to breathe, wake, breathe, sleep, wake, and on and on.  My sleep apnea doctor said she had never seen anyone like me, I have BOTH kinds of apnea, so I was getting hardly any "good" sleep.  She said it's probably been years since I've ever reached REM sleep. The two nights of the study, I never did reach REM.  But, I now have a BIPAP machine, and I've never known what it was like to sleep so well, and actually feel rested in the morning.  I would have a sleep study done, is covered by most insurance, and can make a world of difference in how you feel.  Best wishes to you...as I know what you are going through.
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Avatar universal
I, too, have a defibulatro/pacemaker and after reading the ton of lit that came with it, I found that loss of sleep is one of the side affects.  They tell you if it becomes too bothersome to discuss it with your doctor.  Well, I did that, and she said it's normal and not to worry about it......a lot of good that did.  

I understand that the biggest problem with a defibulator/pacemaker is that people who have them, don't trust them, and are afraid of the "kick in the pants".    I would say that is definatley my problem also.  I have this large bump on my chest(I call it my boob in puberty) that I don't trust, and I can't just take off, so it causes anxiety for me, which I'm sure is responsible for my loss of sleep.

I have two friends who have CPAP machines, which must be the same thing as the BIPAP, or pretty close, and they also are very happy with the restful sleep they get each night.....that is, after they got over ripping it off and throwing it across the room in their sleep. :)  

Anyway, if you feel like there is a problem, then you should talk to your doctor about it, and get something done.  You will most likely wonder what took you so long to ask, once you get the problem corrected.  

I hope the best for you.
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1355118 tn?1298564879
Hi, welcome to the forum, Heart patients with pacemakers have a high prevalence of undiagnosed sleep apnea. Researchers evaluated 98 pacemaker patients for sleep apnea. Fifty-nine percent of the patients had undiagnosed sleep apnea and they suffer from sleep disorders. But there is no good research done for sleep apnea in pacemakers users.

Also sleep apnea can also be associated with restless leg syndrome, Obesity and upper airway soft tissue abnormalities etc.

As for sleep apnea is concerned, you need to take general measures like weight loss if overweight by control over diet and stop smoking (if present). Continue with selective therapies like use of Continuous positive airway pressure or Oral appliances, and drug therapy with theophyline or acetazolamide (non sleeping pills) against prescription are available.

I suggest you to consult sleep specialist. Take care and regards.
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