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    Posted 05-31-2022 09:53
    Has anyone experienced nightmares after having open heart surgery?  There was a paper done in Australia.  They call it Cardiac Blues and involves depression as well as nightmares.  I have not been depressed but having nightmares.  I read that it could be a side effect of metropolol.  Has anyone experienced this?  As I was put on the metropolol after my surgery, the question is: Are the nightmares the result of the surgery or the drug.  Interested in your responses.
    Thanks in advance.



    Posted 06-01-2022 04:53
    Hi Ira.  It's always a treat to meet another Ira.  I had quintuple bypass surgery nearly four and a half years ago but I never experienced any nightmares. I did experience ICU hallucinations and delusions that were so real it took me weeks to piece together what I actually had experienced as physical reality and broadened my personal perception of what constitutes conscious experience, sort of like a Native American dream quest might do.  This all occurred during and after a two week medically induced coma aimed at reducing stress to my heart after I contracted ventilator pneumonia post surgery.  I've also experienced occasional PTSD like flashbacks, but nothing too severe.

    I too take metoprolol, but I never have experienced any side effects to my knowledge except some lightheadedness when they first were getting my dosage right.

    I would be most interested in reading that Australian study if you could provide me with a citation.  There's a lot of scholarly work out there that I've reviewed, but I haven't yet come across anything about nightmares.  It does seem to me, though, that dreams/nightmares are related to hallucinations as alternative forms of consciousness, possibly related to some common neural pathways.

    Anyway, I hope you get past your nightmares soon and find some answers.


    Ira Reid

    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ


    Posted 06-01-2022 05:17
    I came across this when I googled if it was common to have nightmares after open heart surgery.
    It mentioned depression and the nightmares.  Just google it and it will pop up.  You might also try "cardiac blues".
    Hope this helps.
    Take care.


    Posted 06-02-2022 10:51

    Thanks, Ira.  So far I've found a number of related lay articles by the Australian doctor, but haven't yet located her actual study.  I'll look some more.

    it does seem as though they characterize the nightmares as one aspect of PTSD, which also is common among heart surgery survivors.  As I mentioned, I have had occasional mild flashbacks to the hospital but nothing disturbing and I treat them more as a matter of intellectual curiosity than anything else.

    You might be interested in reading a book by Oliver Sacks entitled "Hallucinations."  He provides anecdotal descriptions of hallucinatory and dreamlike experiences of patients with various medical conditions including migraine, Parkinson's, etc., but nothing directly related to heart surgery.  I found it interesting for a number of reasons including the possibility of making associations that might be applicable to open heart surgery patients.  I would have loved to discuss my experiences with Dr. Sacks but, alas, he died three years before my open heart surgery in 2018.



    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ


    Posted 06-03-2022 09:59
    Hello and good morning all, i had quadruple bypass April 1. Yep, and it was no joke! Also had a pacemaker installed. It’s been nine weeks and still have some chest disease. Am told the nerves are re-growing and that causes pain. Was in hospital for two weeks! I’m 75. Trying to ween off pain Rx. And I too have bad dreams. Mostly connected with hospital stay. Discovered Percocet and I don’t like each other. Hallucinations!!!!!!!! Pictures “dripping” and dogs/people in my room. Ha ha will be starting cardio therapy this Monday. 12 weeks long at three times a week. I lost 20 lbs and trying to get it back. I’m 6’1” and went in hospital at 180, came out 160! Anyone else experiencing chest pain after 8-9 weeks? What are you taking for relief? Thanks for listening. Rick

    Sent from my iPhone


    Posted 06-03-2022 20:57
    You will feel a lot of twinges which is the nerve synapses regenerating. It took about 1 year for me to be able to say I almost felt 100%. 
    Rehab is very important. Do not shirk it.


    Posted 06-02-2022 23:28
    Hi Ira, Your experience has brought back vivid memories for me.  My nightmares began as soon as I left the hospital after OHS for aortic valve replacement.  They were horrific to the point where I did not want to sleep at night.  I never connected the nightmares to anything until they abruptly stopped after my finishing the metropolol prescription (roughly 15 days post surgery).  I do hope yours end soon.  They are unpleasant.  Regards, Kat

    Kat Edwards


    Posted 06-03-2022 05:59
    What med did they put you on after the Metropol?  
    To see if the drug was causing the nightmares the doctor took me off of it for 3 weeks.  Was doing fine then but one day I had big increase in blood pressure.  Took one, had nightmare that night.



    Posted 09-07-2022 16:26
    Hi Ira,
    After I was taken off of Metropolol it was not replaced with anything.  My cardiologist did not want me on it subsequent to leaving the hospital.    I simply went back onto my BP medication.  The somewhat higher BP post surgery has eventually eased with slight increase in amlodipine prescription. kat

    Kat Edwards


    Posted 09-07-2022 13:14
    Nightmares, wow sure did. I was lucky to survive a ruptured triple A and was down and out for three wks before being aware. I can't talk due to intubation and find my hands mittened and restrained to bed railings! That being a nightmare itself to become aware of, the brain gives me another with a cast of the hospital crew putting me into life threatening pranks. The last coincides with a second surgery after a full months stay for an ostomy. That night a nightmare which put me in a hotel room, restrained & mittened in bed plus a restrain on my leg tied to a chair. In the nightmare I am able to free the mittens and restraints on hands and climb down to floor where the abductors discover my attempt at freedom! The next morning I white board a complaint to nurses that my my ribs are sore. They inform me of my attempt to flee the hospital fighting and removing my restraints, finding me on the floor with all med lines ripped out, beat them out of bed even with motion alarms?? 
    My hospitalization was 44 days followed by another 60 in extended care. The nightmares gradually became less violent and settled into less vivid and hard to remember subjects. I am having far more dreams  than before surgery, biggest diet change maybe no alcohol and no smokes? My biggest takeback from this is how vivid, lifelike, constant day in day out in chapters as in a book?
    Have already given my docs a heads up. At least I know what's coming, at least they gave me the chance at a next time!
    I should add that I was returned to being given metoporolol after not having any dosage in 4 years. When this resumption in my recovery took place I cannot say.
    Douglas D MacIVER


    Posted 09-07-2022 14:19
    My meds were switched from the metapropol and find much better results regarding nightmares.


    Posted 09-09-2022 16:54
    Nightmares are not uncommon but once you are awake and can recognize them as terrible bad dreams with time they will lose their power over you.  At least, thats my experience.   I was in a medically induced coma for ten days after my surgery. During that time , i many dreams : some were happy and other scary.  It took a while once i was awake to get them off of my mind a
    that these were not true events.  Please get medication if they continue and or get therapy as so that you can enjoy the reality of your coming back to a healthy and joyful life and gratitude pto your  care team

    Marilyn Rosenhouse
    Dallas Tx


    Posted 09-09-2022 22:02
    Dear All,

    Yes-- ICU Psychosis is another name for nightmare frights you are incurring. 

    I thought the nursing staff was trying to kill me. I tried to punch a nurse once. The thoughts and visions are as real as if they were truly happening. I tried to rip all my tubes out. These events you are suffering from most nursing staff are very aware of. 

    You will recover from these bouts of fright. 

    Will be thinking you in prayers

    Michael J Hinderlie


    Posted 10-25-2022 18:42
    I would guess a result of the surgery. I had already been taking metropolol for two years before my recent surgery. Still ended up with pretty bad nightmares for a few months. They've petered off now. I have no idea if my increase in depression medication might've helped get rid of them, but it could be something to discuss with your doctor.

    Joshua Blunt


    Posted 10-25-2022 19:27
    My meds were changed and nightmares stopped. 

    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS


    Posted 10-26-2022 13:47
    More likely post surgical stress than the drugs. I have the same recurring dream every night: an appointment to schedule a new heart procedure. I guess that's just a plain old fear manifesting itself through the subconscious. 



    Posted 11-14-2022 19:58
    I didn't have nightmares in the hospital, but did when I got home. Incredibly vivid and terrifying - I was afraid to go to sleep! Fortunately it didn't last very long. Also, I was lucky in that I had a friend who had experienced nightmares after a serious motorcycle accident and was very supportive to me as I went through this phase.

    Jesse Aronson