Sleep apnoea

Many thanks to Mike for sharing his story…

I attended a check up session with the Heart Failure nurse when she asked me if I would complete a questionnaire about my sleeping pattern. She explained that a study was being carried out on people with heart failure to determine how their sleep patterns may be affected by this illness.

A few weeks after this episode I was contacted by a Cardiologist called Dr Shah. He asked if I would like to carry out a sleep apnoea home test as it was thought that approximately 50% of heart failure patients suffered with this problem.

It was explained to me that the test would take place over 2 nights.

I picked up the testing equipment which consisted of 2 bands placed around my chest and belly, an oxygen type tubing placed in my nostrils and a sensor.


mike (2)


I honestly did not think that I would be able to sleep comfortably with these items on my person, however, to my surprise I  did settle.

The equipment was then returned to the technicians at the Sleep Clinic in Nevill hall and here they were able to download and analyse the findings. I was then referred to Dr Jose Thomas. 

Here a brief write up about the sleep clinic, Abergavenny

Dr Jose Thomas informed me that I did suffer with mild sleep apnoea and I was very shocked when Gavin Phillips, sleep technician, showed me the graph from my 2 night test.

Each night I had stopped breathing for an average of 254 times!

Gavin explained to me that the treatment for this disorder was what they called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and it would involve wearing a mask during sleep. Air is then blown under pressure via a small pump through the nasal passages to prevent the throat from collapsing during sleep. The air pressure is adjusted automatically to prevent this collapse.

I wasn’t looking forward to this treatment because it sounded ( and looked) very uncomfortable but felt that I had to give it try. 

The first night I set everything up, put the mask on my face and started the pump. It felt very strange and I didn’t think that I would sleep but after a while the sound was like listening to waves lapping on the sea shore. Next morning when I awoke I felt amazingly refreshed, full of live and found that my concentration was much better. Previous to this I was waking up very tired and not refreshed at all.

I am very pleased with this treatment. It has altered my life and improved the quality of my life. If anyone recognises the way I was feeling and having the same problems that I was I urge you to chat to your GP or heart failure nurse..

It does not work for everyone but is well worth a try