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What causes choking sensation while in lying down position?

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Pediatrician, Pulmonology
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 7106 Questions
My 14 year old son has been waking up in the middle of the night really grasping for breath. It makes him sit straight up and make a big gasping noise and then cough. He has done this
appox 4 times this summer. He seems very tired a lot more than I think a 14 year should be as well. What do you think is the cause? Who should I see about this type of problem?
Posted Mon, 4 Aug 2014 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Sumanth Amperayani 27 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Could be a gastroesophageal reflux

Detailed Answer:
Hi...Thank you for consulting in Health Care magic.

As you say it always comes during his sleep, it implies that he is getting this choking sensation while in lying down position. This history usually fits into a gastroesophageal reflux (GER). Whenever there is a reflux the acid irritates the upper airway, they feel like choking and clear the throat with cough and seem to get better. I have a few questions for you -

1. Have you observed this after a heavy dinner with spicy food or oily food?
2. Is there any family history of acid peptic disease or GER?

I considered the possibility of a functional disorder keeping in mind his age, but it is unlikely as it wakes him up from sleep.

I suggest you to see your pediatrician with this tip and later if need be, a pediatric gastroenterologist.

Meanwhile you can try head end elevation of the bed and during the attack try some over the counter antacids.

Hope my answer was helpful for you. I am happy to help any time. Further clarifications and consultations on Health care magic are welcome. If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish your kid good health.
Dr. Sumanth MBBS., DCH., DNB (Paed).,
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