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Panic disorder history in the families of patients with angiographically normal coronary arteries
Am J Psychiatry 1992;149:1563-1567.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The authors evaluated the diagnostic validity of an interview-based panic disorder diagnosis in cardiology chest pain patients with angiographically normal coronary arteries. METHOD: Patient probands with normal coronary arteries (N = 65) were first contracted immediately after their normal angiogram and were given a structured diagnostic interview. On the basis of the results of the interview, probands were grouped as having panic disorder (N = 19), panic attacks that did not meet frequency criteria for panic disorder (N = 17), or no panic (N = 29). At a later time, patient probands were recontacted and given a structured family history interview that inquired about psychopathology in their first-degree biological relatives (N = 544). RESULTS: As predicted, panic disorder was significantly more prevalent among the first-degree relatives of probands with normal coronary arteries diagnosed with panic disorder or panic attacks than among the family members of probands with normal coronary arteries without panic (17.4% versus 15.7% versus 4.0%). Family members of probands with panic attacks were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with major depression than were the family members of probands with no panic; however, differences did not reach significance for family members of the panic disorder proband group. Groups did not differ significantly in familial alcoholism. CONCLUSIONS: These data support the construct validity of an interview- based panic disorder diagnosis among patients with chest pain and normal coronary arteries and suggest that these patients could benefit from treatment for panic disorder.

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