Fainting and breathing problems while sleeping


Q: What does it mean if you blackout during a nightmare? My boyfriend had a nightmare about his mom's death (she passed when he was a child) and he stopped breathing and fainted while asleep. He came to when I woke him up.

Symptoms:  Breathing stopped, blackout for a few seconds

A:   Hello.
Welcome to Ask The Doctor. I understand your concern.

I would like to keep possibility of Obstructive Sleep Apnea or Cortical Seizures in case of your friend.
He indeed requires MRI Brain, Sleep Study with EEG. The Sleep Study is considered as the only best test to diagnose sleep apnea. He should also get a cardiac evaluation and arterial blood gas analysis done.
If it's just sleep apnea, he would require BIPAP in night time to prevent yourself from adverse effects of Sleep apnea syndrome particularly cardiac issues. If any abnormality is found in MRI or EEG, he would be treated accordingly.
Share my opinion with your doctor, get him investigated and write to us with the reports again.

I hope it helps.
Stay Healthy

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