I posted back on February 10th all the details of my in-lab sleep study experience. I finally had my follow up appointment with my sleep doctor on February 25th to discuss the results of the study.
I went into the appointment fully expecting to be told I had some form of mild sleep apnea. I was prepared to be offered three options to address my mild sleep apnea:
- Do nothing (since it is so mild)
- Use a CPAP mask
- Use a dental device
I told my wife that I was going to go with the third option and get the dental device. If that didn’t work I would obviously try the CPAP mask but that was going to be my last resort option.
And The Results Were…
The doctor said he was pleased to tell me that sleep apnea wasn’t contributing to my atrial fibrillation because I didn’t have sleep apnea! I was so relieved to hear that. I instantly felt this tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders. For over a year I worried that I might have sleep apnea and now I finally had an answer.
These in-lab sleep studies are fairly comprehensive so rather than try to summarize everything I’ve provided copies here of my entire report. As you’ll see, these in-lab sleep studies provide a lot of information that you wouldn’t get in an in-home sleep study.
The part of the report that jumped out at me was the Cardiac Comments page (page 5) – specifically the ECG section. It says,
“Patient frequent possible PACs as well as multi-focal PVCs throughout the entire study. Patient also had occasional pauses in rhythm possibly associated with A-fib.”
Then on the same page under the Scoring Tech Comments it says, “ECG appeared to be nsr with pvcs.”
I found this interesting only because I have been battling PACs and PVCs lately so I wasn’t surprised to see I experience them during my sleep as well! I don’t know what it is with these PACs and PVCs but they’ve reared their ugly head again. Like before, I have good days and bad days with them.
I should also point out something else. You’ll note that those cardiac comments come from the reporting TECH – not a doctor. This is important because when I talked to my doctor about these comments he said that the final word on these reports come from the interpreting doctor – not the technician.
The interpreting doctor of record for my sleep study interpreted and concluded that my “rhythm was normal sinus” and “arrhythmias were not noted.” You’ll see these comments in the Cardiac Summary section on the bottom of page one of the report.
It’s very possible (and highly likely) that I did have a number of PACs and PVCs but nothing to warrant concern as it would have been noted by the interpreting doctor.
Since I don’t have sleep anea obviously there is nothing to do to address it (thank God). However, my sleep doctor said I should do whatever it takes to treat my insomnia. To that end, he referred me to a sleep therapist who I’ll be seeing for the first time next week. I suspect I’ll be seeing him on a weekly basis for the next several weeks – or however long it takes to see improvement in my battle against insomnia.
I’m also working with a naturopathic doctor locally to find some natural supplements and/or herbal treatments that might help with my sleep.
I do have some positive news to report on the insomnia front, however. For the past few weeks I have been sleeping better than ever. By better I mean I’m able to get a solid 5-6 1/2 hours of sleep most nights. On my bad nights I only get 2-3 hours of sleep.
I’ve managed to make improvements in my sleep by doing the following:
- Going to bed earlier than I usually do. I now try to have the lights off at midnight vs. 1 or 2 a.m. as I have for years.
- I take one capsule of Kavinace Ultra PM every night AND either ½ mg of Lorazepam or 5 mg of Zolpidem. My goal is to get off the prescription drugs completely. Hopefully the sleep therapist will be able to help with that.
- I read for about 20 minutes before I go to bed to relax and to just feel better about things. I read only books on self-improvement and religion.
- I pray. I find that praying has really helped. In fact, I find that becoming a more religious person has helped in all facets of my life. I’ll be writing more about this in coming posts.
Until next time, I wish you all well and solid NSR!
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Thanks for sharing your journey-it is very informative. I was just diagnosed with AFIB. Did they have you go through a bunch of tests when you were diagnosed? Of course I had the EKG which determined the AFIB. Now they have me going for a Holter monitor, and a two-part stress test and echo. I am on a blood thinner and something to slow my heart rate.
I am overweight (working on that) and do have high blood pressure. It’s not that bad and pretty much under control now. I am 60 years old. My parents did have AFIB. I pray they do not find an underlying heart cause for this – very scary. Thank you for listening. Take care and keep us posted. Also, I may have sleep apnea so I have to go for a sleep study. He wants to wait to get the heart in rhythm first.
Hey Pam…welcome to the club:( When I was first diagnosed they didn’t do any tests and fortunately they didn’t load me up with a bunch of drugs either. I was basically sent on my way and told to keep an eye on it. In hindsight, it was about the best advice and care I could have been given! So many doctors these days go over board on these tests and drugs.
Afib can be a serious condition but unless you’re having afib on a regular basis, drugs aren’t always necessary. I was only having one episode a year. It would have been ridiculous to put me on any drugs, but sadly there are people who are in similar situations and their doctors have them on blood thinners and various heart drugs.
Like you, my dad had afib too (but my mom didn’t). There is a strong genetic connection with afib so I’m not surprised to hear you have afib since your parents had it. I doubt there is any underlying “heart cause” to your afib. I’m sure it’s just a genetic thing so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Since you mentioned you are overweight, you should definitely consider having a sleep study done just to rule out sleep apnea. And as you said you’re doing, I would continue to work on losing weight as that will also help reduce your sleep apnea if you have it.
If you have any questions along your journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly via my contact page. I wish you the very best!
good to hear from you again, good news you have no sleep apnea, sorry to hear you are battling with pvc’s and pac’s again, have you considered using a low dose of flecainide to quiet them down as a doctor suggested to you in the past. best of luck,
Good to hear from you as well! About a week ago when I was having some pretty intense PACs/PVCs I thought about caving in and taking a low dose of Flecainide but ultimately decided not to. I am reserving that drug as an absolute last resort option. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m relying on Flecainide on a daily basis to function normally. I’m confident they’ll pass again on their own or I’ll find a natural solution to keep them at bay. Luckily the past few days they have been very tame to nonexistent.
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