Does anyone have bad heart palpitations when they lay down after an aortic dissection repair?

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My name is Jonathan and I am new to the forums here. I had a major operation 1.2 years ago where they grafted almost my entire aorta because I had a long aortic dissection. They still have an abdominal dissection that they did not repair but are watching. So far it has not grown. I notice that when I lie down I get heart palpitations and sometimes they are so bad I cannot sleep. My question is does anyone else have these and when they lie down and how do they handle them? Do they go away or is there something you can do to combat them. They are driving me crazy. All I can do is take Unisom and pray to get a few hours sleep. Any suggestions?

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  • Posted

    What have your medical advisors say about it ? Palpitations can be different things to different people.

    When I had my aortic valve replaced I went into atrial fibrillation and they said it was because the heart does not like being handled

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  • Posted

    all the docs have run every test there is. all check out ok. wore halter monitor for months. nothing. afab would show up there. no afib. the surgeons said my ctscans have been good. they all say it is anxiety. I do have anxiety but never thought it would do that since I am trained in so many ways to treat panic and anxiety. I knew there had to be something they were missing and ironically I think I just found. For months those pesky palpitations have been my worst nightmare. About and hour ago from advice on the internet I took 500 mg magnesium, 1000 mg calcium and 600 mg of potassium with 2 glasses of water. Within 20-30 mins the palpitations that had been haunting me for months disappeared. I hope that was really the answer and not some fluke.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jonathan,

    I have something similar but not exactly the same … frankly I’ve found the best approach for me is to completely ignore it … but then I don’t get it very badly and not often … and I’m a belligerent bugger at the best of times!

    Let me explain ….. I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve. This eventually caused me to be somewhat limited in what I could do physically as I became breathless very easily. At some point I was diagnosed with arrhythmia and that’s when the palpitations, albeit mild palpitations, became noticeable.

    The aortic valve was replaced in 2005 (54 years old at the time) with a mechanical valve which restored me to relatively normal activity. Then some time around 2009/2010 I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation.

    In October last year I was diagnosed with a pseudo thoracic aortic aneurysm … basically my aorta had burst some years previously near the aortic valve (don’t know exactly when but in hind sight there was evidence of it at least in 2015). However because I’d had cancer back in 1994 the scar tissue from the surgery I had then, contained the rupture … I didn’t even notice!

    I had pretty prompt surgery to deal with the aneurysm on 5th of November 2018. Like you I had a lot of my aorta replaced … the aortic root and the hemi-arch with a Dacron graft and a new mechanical aortic valve included. I expect yours was much more extensive than that though.

    I too used to find and still do now and again that if I laid flat then I became a bit breathless and my heart raced and I had to sit up again. For instance if I walked upstairs at night to go to bed and then got into bed straightaway and laid flat I was very uncomfortable, heart pounding, gasping for breathe a little.

    I’ve found the best way to deal with this for me is to, once in bed, sit fairly upright and read a book for a while. Then when things have calmed down and I feel sleepy, gently lie flatter and drift off to sleep. Easier said than done I know but keeping calm and knowing that my heart will settle down eventually seems to be the key. I know it sounds bizarre but I even talk to my heart saying “Just calm down will yer, it’s alright, let’s go to sleep now.”

    If it happens during the day I just sit quietly somewhere and wait calmly. I think being calm and trying be restful is the key to this. I know it’s hard. You’d be astounded what your mind can make your body do both good things and bad things. I have a background of transcendental meditation and I’m convinced that helps: I’m not convinced that more drugs always help.

    I think it's true, the body is a delicate mechanism and doesn't like being mucked about with. I've had a lot of surgery over the years and from each op I can still feel some evidence of my body saying "I didn't enjoy that!"

    Well, I hope that helps you and thank you for reading thus far.



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  • Posted

    Thanks Phil that was helpful. I do notice sometimes when I am calm it is much less noticeable and I can sleep. What seemed to calm me tonight was magnesium which supports normal heart rhythm. 95% of the pounding was gone so I could fall asleep without a sleep aid for the first time in months. The problem was back in the morning but walking around with it is not such a bother as lying down. I will just take magnesium before bed now and see how that work.

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  • Posted

    you might try a wedge to sleep on instead of a pillow

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