Coincidence? Wearing mask brings on Afib & high blood pressure?

Posted by yorlik @yorlik, Aug 4, 2020

So been a few years since my atrial valve replacement. Had Afib for first 4 months after surgery, then went away. I talked Dr out of Xarelto. I very occassionally will get afib for a few hours at a time, no clue why but not an issue to me. Now with covid-19 and masks required everywhere, I occassionally wear one, not often.

Had first family Dr appointment for checkup 2 years+ after surgery; wore mask at Dr office for 40 minutes. My BP is typically 138/78 – at drs it was 190/100! Never before like that! Then 1 hr later we went to Krogers, wore a mask for 40 minutes before I couldn't stand it anymore. Hard to rebreath all that CO2! Got home and had full blown Afib for next 24 hours! No energy, hard to breath.

I believe wearing that damn mask caused my high BP AND my LONG afib attack! Rebreathing that CO2, starving my body of oxygen.

Anyone have opinions?

I’ve had a lung disease in the past that damaged my lungs. I find it difficult to wear some masks but not all. If one type of mask causes you problems, try a different type. One mask I used was horrible but I’ve settled on one that causes no problems at all. I also have high BP in doctors office and normal at home. This is common.

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I am 76 and have a low immune system, AFIB, COPD, Asthma, Sjogren's, orthostatic blood pressure (it goes up when I stand) and numerous other illnesses. 2 years ago after being admitted to the hospital every other month, I was in trauma 1 and in very bad shape. My pulmonologist told me to wear a mask all the time when I was out and to not shake hands or hug people (I was a hugger). He said the next time I was admitted, I would be in for at least 2 weeks. I started wearing a mask and following my doctors very difficult orders, and I have not been in the hospital. I wear cloth masks and paper masks. With all my heart, lung and blood pressure problems, the masks haven't caused me any problems. They have prevented me from having problems.

Liked by mayofeb2020

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@mayofeb2020

@peacequeen. My bp always goes up at doctor's office.. The white coat hypertension, with or without mask. Anxiety can cause bp to go up.

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I have had afib and high blood pressure for will over 20 years, long beffore having to wear a mask . I too think my rise in BP is totaly related to the white coat syndrone. I have no idea what triggers my afib which can last from less that one minute to well over 2 hours. I .
take my BP first thing every morning. Every two weeks I send those charts my my PCP. Most times my readings are in the normal range and we do not get exicted..I self monitor my health every day and know when my afib is starting. If you need, carry a little note bood with you to record notes when you think bp and afib are starting. If you are not sure you are having en episode, write it down anyway. Keep your PCP informed.

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@yorlik

slynb thank you for your detailed reply. You did not need to correct first reply; it was very obvious what you meant, thanks. Your reply does show the large variances in opinions and what people consider the facts. For those of us not Dr.s, we can align with either side based on the studies done by 'both sides.' For instance the experience surgeon's comments shown above (https://www.jpost.com/health-science/could-wearing-a-mask-for-long-periods-be-detrimental-to-health-628400) is totally opposite your comments.

What I do know is I have gone without afib for over a year; self employed, stay home 99% of the time so little need for a mask, then all of a sudden I wear a mask for the first time for extended period and I get 24 hours of afib and a blood pressure reading that is totally out of line for me. As an engineer, I was taught to look at the evidence, in this case first hand imperical evidence, and make conclusions guided by them. Hense my question here. Thank you for your reply!

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I had same thing happen to me. My theory is, if sleep apnea can cause Afib so can a face mask. These people that are nonbelievers are acting like we are looking for excuses to not wear one. I am a firm believer in masks. I had Afib every day (3days in a row). I went out shopping with mask on,. after the last day, the following day I had a fib on and off for 24 hours. I won’t be going out where I have to wear face mask for extended time. I learned my lesson!

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@lindalc Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I have personal friends and Connect has several members that feel the same way about the masks. I am not advising anyone to not wear a mask, but there have been a few articles talking about masks causing anxiety which could further heart palpitations.

Have you talked to your medical team your concerns?

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@colleenyoung

Masks pose no risk of hypoxia, which is lower oxygen levels, in healthy adults. Carbon dioxide will freely diffuse through your mask as you breathe. Carbon dioxide molecules are too small to be controlled by the majority of mask materials and simply pass right through. For many years, health care providers have worn masks for extended periods of time with no adverse health reactions. Take surgeons, for example – during long procedures, they wear surgical masks for hours with no ill-effects on their carbon dioxide levels.

That said people sometimes feel uncomfortable wearing a mask. It is new and requires some getting used to. This discomfort may cause you to feel anxious or stressed, which may explain an increased heart rate. Stress can contribute to heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) such as atrial fibrillation.

Here's some further reading:
– Debunked myths about face masks https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/debunked-myths-about-face-masks
– Wearing A Mask To Reduce The Spread Of Coronavirus Will Not Give You Carbon Dioxide Poisoning https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2020/05/12/wearing-a-mask-to-reduce-the-spread-of-coronavirus-will-not-give-you-carbon-dioxide-poisoning/
– Atrial fibrillation and managing stress https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atrial-fibrillation/in-depth/atrial-fibrillation-managing-stress/art-20118647

Good for you for wearing a mask to help stop the spread of the coronavirus! To reduce your discomfort, you might consider wearing the mask around the house for 5 minutes a day, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, etc until it becomes second nature.

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Not true. Pub Med.gov 2008 showed after 1 hour, basically healthy surgeons had decreased SpO2 and increased heart rate. I've been an RN x 27 years and found wearing masks difficult at best, suffocating at worst. Here's the link. And this one isn't tainted by politics.

Liked by yorlik

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@amandaburnett

@lindalc Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I have personal friends and Connect has several members that feel the same way about the masks. I am not advising anyone to not wear a mask, but there have been a few articles talking about masks causing anxiety which could further heart palpitations.

Have you talked to your medical team your concerns?

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Why do you even bring up anxiety?? lindalc didn't mention she was anxious or claustrophobic. Even if NO ONE ever did a study, common sense would dictate at least a slight decrease in SPO2 and an increase in CO2 resulting in an increase in HR and/ or BP with your mouth and nose covered for extended or even short periods of time. Think paper bag for hyperventilating.

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@diadem

Not true. Pub Med.gov 2008 showed after 1 hour, basically healthy surgeons had decreased SpO2 and increased heart rate. I've been an RN x 27 years and found wearing masks difficult at best, suffocating at worst. Here's the link. And this one isn't tainted by politics.

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@diadem

Not true. Pub Med.gov 2008 showed after 1 hour, basically healthy surgeons had decreased SpO2 and increased heart rate. I've been an RN x 27 years and found wearing masks difficult at best, suffocating at worst. Here's the link. And this one isn't tainted by politics.

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@diadem, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.
Here is the link to the abstract to which you refer:
– Preliminary report on surgical mask induced deoxygenation during major surgery https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18500410/

It is important to note that the study was unable to conclude whether the change in the oxygen saturation of arterial pulsations (SpO2) was due to the facial mask or the operational stress.

Mayo Clinic has conducted research and determined mask wearing is critical to preventing COVID-19 infection.
– Mayo Clinic research confirms critical role of masks in preventing COVID-19 infection https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-research-confirms-critical-role-of-masks-in-preventing-covid-19-infection/

Naturally, there are people who find it challenging, if not impossible, to wear masks due to certain health conditions. Handwashing and distancing remain tactics that everyone can do to help save lives.

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