OBJECTIVE: The authors examined ambulatory ECG changes during panic
attacks in patients with panic disorder. METHOD: Ten otherwise healthy
women with panic disorder and complaints of chest pain during panic attacks
underwent a symptom-limited exercise test on a treadmill and then wore an
ambulatory ECG monitor with software designed to detect and record ischemic
events and used a hand-held computer for up to 6 days. RESULTS: Eight of
the women had panic attacks while using the hand-held computer and the ECG
monitor. No ischemic events occurred during any of the exercise tests.
Twelve tachycardiac events occurred during panic attacks and 84
tachycardiac events occurred that were not associated with panic attacks.
Panic attacks were associated with significantly more symptoms than were
tachycardiac episodes. CONCLUSIONS: In this group of otherwise healthy
women with panic disorder and chest pain, ambulatory ischemic changes were
not recorded during panic attacks.