Sleep apnea and severe bradyarrhythmia--an alternative treatment option: a case report

J Med Case Rep. 2015 May 15;9:113. doi: 10.1186/s13256-015-0596-6.


Introduction: Sinus arrest, atrio-ventricular block, supraventricular, and ventricular arrhythmias have been reported in patients with sleep apnea syndrome. The arrhythmias usually occur during sleep and contribute to the cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and the treatment of sleep apnea usually results in the resolution of the brady- arrhythmias. Weight loss, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral appliances, and upper airway surgery are the recommended treatments, however, compliance and efficacy are issues.

Case presentation: A 58-year-old Arab man presented with recurrent presyncope. He was subsequently diagnosed with sleep apnea associated with frequent and significant sinus pauses. He presented a treatment challenge because he refused continuous positive airway pressure and pacemaker, however, he was successfully treated with theophylline.

Conclusion: Frequent and significant sinus pause associated with sleep apnea was successfully treated with theophylline in our patient when the standard treatment of care was refused.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Bradycardia / drug therapy*
  • Bradycardia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Theophylline / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Refusal


  • Theophylline