My heart stopped for over 6 seconds whilst sleeping

HI All , I have suffered AF now for 19 years I have had 3 ablations 2 sucessful and the last one was aborted when they caught my throat during a Transesophageal echocardiogram which meant they could not continue to do the ablation as they could not give me blood thinnners . So I have been on Bisoprolol for the last 2 years , which calms the AF a little but lately I have been getting what I can only describe as pausing of the heart , I have a ILR device implanted.  Last week the technition called to ask how I felt and what happened wednsday 26th he said my heart rate dropped, I was asleep dreaming I was drowning. An appointment was made for e to see the surgeon today who's first words to me were you are having a PM I am putting it through as urgent, he then showed me on the computor my heart trace it did not slow down it just stopped dead from 62 beats to nothing for just a little over 6 seconds . He has no idea why and now I am petrified to sleep and wanting to have the PM like yesterday I am really scared this will happen again and yes scared I will die. I am 59 , my father died of heart failiure at 58 my brother who is 4 years older has had 2 heart attacks and has 2 large stents now. please can anyone help to put my mind at ease. 


Six seconds

by AgentX86 - 2019-07-10 15:20:04

Scary, for sure but not unusual for those of us on antiarrhythmics. They're toxic to the heart and just about every other organ. Some are worse than others but they're all toxic.

I had the same thing 18 months ago. I had been having the second pauses fairly regularly but my cardiologist had a wait and see attitude. A few weeks after my third (failed) ablation, we were skyping with our kids, when I almost passed out.  Off to the ER. They couldn't find anything (new) so I was admitted for tests and more observation. A couple of days later I had a five second pause but the nurses wrote it off to bad leads (I was sleeping on them).

Finding "nothing", they set me home with a monitor to wear for 30 days. At 3:00AM on the second day I got a call from the monitoring company suggesting that I get to the ER, like NOW. I had an appointment with my EP at 9:00, so just went to the hospital and camped out in his waiting room. We were going to leave for the hospital well before 6:00 anyway so the ER didn't make sense.

Anyway,  I'd had an eight second asystole, which freaked them all out. They worked me in for an AV ablation and pacemaker that Monday (the fun above was on a Friday). Over that weekend, I had another asystole but this time when I was awake. I remember thinking "now what the .... do I do?".

Anyway,  you certainly aren't alone.

BTW, I was 64. My father died at 52 and a brother at 65 of SCA.

Asystole worries.

by Selwyn - 2019-07-10 16:11:13

What only 6 seconds! I think the record is well over 20 seconds, if not a lot longer. 

Your problem was the same today, as it has been what, for a week, two weeks, a month... who knows? You are still around to tell the tale! This thought should be reassuring.

Whilst there is a risk to you at present, that risk has to be seen in the light of how long you have had the problem, and isn't it good that you/they now know about it.... and can do something to help.  You are one of the lucky ones.

I've posted a few days ago about my anxieties at being in your situation. Let me say, I was ever so thankful to have my PM with only a two day wait, and I still feel grateful given the anxiety that goes with waiting.  Of course people do get emergency surgery for pacemakers. Clearly, your doctors have accessed the risk ( and there is nothing in life without risk) and find it acceptable.

Coronary artery disease ( CAD) may have nothing at all to do with your arrhythmia. It would be a good idea to be screened for CAD given your family history. My Dad was 48 when he had his first myocardial infarct, and died have two others at the age of 56. My Mum had a pacemaker, so I expect there is nothing going for me. I was screened and was found to have a 90% stenosis. Thanks Mum and Dad.

You may be more likely to get killed on the road going to and from the hospital than you are by a cardiac arrhythmia.  Whilst we look carefully before crossing the road, I hope they don't keep you waiting too long. I would nag to get a date a.s.a.p. for insertion of a PM. 

Hold in there. Try some distractions and keeping busy. 

We have all been there and are around to tell the tale.

Kind regards,


Six Seconds

by Webby - 2019-07-10 16:27:52

Agentx86 Once you had the ablation and the PM were things better ?? also did they discover your fathers and brother problem did they end up with PM . 

Asystole Worries

by Webby - 2019-07-10 16:38:45

Thank you thats just what I needed to hear , I have had the ILR implant for 2 years and nothing like this showed up in the whole time only AF and ectopic beats which started to feel like pauses which made me dizzy and light headed, but recently the pain started and the breathlessness. The surgeon did say he would put it through as urgent and I wont be waiting too long so I hope thats the case. I have had echocardiogram and they said everythng looked fine but that was last year before this happened.  I am under papworth hospital have been for years but they have said they will need to give me a general to do PM and remove the ILR at the same time becaus eof my axiety each time I have a procedure my BP drops and heart rate and they have to wait for me to come back lol no matter how much I tell myself to relax it dont happen . 

Six Seconds

by AgentX86 - 2019-07-11 00:10:47

Yes, once I had the AV ablation and PM things were a lot better, though not perfect.  The surgery was nothing.  I had no anesthesia, only locals in my left shoulder and right leg.  I was chatting with the EP who was doing the PM implant while my EP was doing the AV ablation.  Since I was then pacemaker dependent, they kept me overnight and I went home the next morning and back to work the next day.  Actually, the first few months I felt almost euphoric - a constant high.  My heart was actually working again. 

I've walked a lot since my CABG in late '14 and I was back walking the second day, as well.  I wasn't allowed to go to the gym for a month, so I fell behind there but I didn't have any trouble getting back into the groove. 

After three or four months I started getting biggeminal PVCs that were just awful.  It got to where it was doing it every night.  That lasted a good four or five months and slowly got better.  I still have them occaisionally but not as bad.

My EP was "selling" me on the AV ablation after the second ablation for Aflutter failed.  After the third failed I was pretty much sold but then the asystoles meant that I needed a PM anyway.  It wasn't a large step from there to having the AV ablation at the same time.  I would do it again in a minute but it has to be treated as the last resort.  Everything else has to be tried first.  There is no way back from it.  OTOH, my flutter wasn't tolerable (a Maze procedure for Afib caused the Aflutter).


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