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What causes sleep apnea with shortness in breath after a c section surgery? - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 25-Mar-2014
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Sleep Disorders
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2408 Questions
User:Hi, I am currently 32 weeks pregnant and will be having my 3rd c section in April. I am experiencing anxiety because after my last c section I experienced central sleep apnea issues along with shortness of breath after I got home from the hospital. It lasted a few days and went away. I am scared that this will happen again and want to know what caused it so I can avoid that. Also 10 years ago I had severe whiplash that affected my blood pressure, breathing (also had central sleep apnea incidences) and heart rate among many other things. After seeing a chiropractor who specializes in the atlas vertebrae I was able to clear up my issues. Please tell me what could have caused the breathing troubles after my last c section.
Doctor:Please give me a minute to go through your query
Doctor:I suspect the culprit was the anesthetic agent used
Doctor:what type of anesthesia was administered to you for the C-Section?
User:That is my best conclusion also as I had a chest xray before I got pregnant with #3 and everything was fine. I'm not sure what was the anesthesia possibly morphine?
Doctor:Morphine is not an anesthetic
User:I didn't have this problem with my first c section - are there different medica tions they can use? What are my options?
Doctor:I wanted to know if it was general anesthetic or spinal
User:It was spinal
Doctor:Oh okay
Doctor:Spinal anesthesia doesn't cause central sleep apnea
Doctor:because spinal anesthesia does not enter the brain
User:They also gave me something to calm my nerves
Doctor:In that case, I would suspect some CNS depressant like morphine, or thiopental sodium
User:The anesthetist only told me it was a "special cocktail'
Doctor:Yes, what they gave you for calming the nerves could be the culprit
Doctor:Oh, yes, they do that... They use dissociative anesthetics like ketamine along with another sleep inducer
Doctor:these can cause some residual effects
User:I suppose the only option I have would be to not take anything to calm my nerves? Ever since my whiplash I'm very sensitive to any medications
Doctor:What you can do is... get a copy of the operative and anesthesia notes from your previous surgery
Doctor:and show them to your anesthetist
Doctor:and tell your anesthetist about your sleep apnea episodes
Doctor:that should make the anesthetists to be careful and not use anything that can cause similar episodes again
Doctor:anesthetists do not take chances, you can be sure about that
Doctor:Without knowing the specific names of the medicines, I will not be able to tell you what might have caused this
User:Thank you, I will do that. Thank you for the reassurance. So is it possible I will just have to go through the surgery without anything to calm me down or are there many alternatives?
Doctor:and I can reassure you, if you explain to the doctors (both your obstetrician and anesthetist), they will make sure that you will not experience any issues again
Doctor:There are alternatives, definitely. That is why it is important to talk to both your doctors and tell them what happened last time
User:Okay I will for sure. I had talked to my general practitioner who had no idea why that may have happened. She is not the one doing the surgery though, I will see that doctor in a few weeks
User:I will explain to the obgyn and anesthetist what happened last time and maybe they will be able to fix that. Thank you for your help!
Doctor:Yes, you should talk to your obstetrician and remember to tell the same thing to the anesthetist as well
Doctor:I am sure they will be able to fix it...
Doctor:don't worry
Doctor:and you are most welcome
User:Thank you very very much. Especially for the reassurance.
Doctor:Thank you for using our service
Doctor:is there anything else I can help you with?
User:No thank you, I just wanted to re-read everything before ending the chat so I am prepared for my next appointment. Thank you again, we're all done :)
Doctor:Okay, it was my pleasure to answer your questions, and I am happy to know that I could help you.
Doctor:Take care, and all the best for your delivery.
Doctor:bye bye
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