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Psychosomatics. 2015 Sep-Oct;56(5):513-20. doi: 10.1016/j.psym.2014.07.005. Epub 2014 Jul 24.

Nonfearful Panic Attacks in Patients With Noncardiac Chest Pain.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, Laval University, Quebec, Canada (GF-B). Electronic address: guillaume.foldes-busque@psy.ulaval.ca.
2
Alphonse-Desjardins Health and Social Services Centre, Research Centre of the University-Affiliated Hospital of Lévis, Lévis, Quebec, Canada (GF-B, RPF, ID, JP); Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada (RPF, JP).
3
Alphonse-Desjardins Health and Social Services Centre, Research Centre of the University-Affiliated Hospital of Lévis, Lévis, Quebec, Canada (GF-B, RPF, ID, JP).
4
Sacré-Coeur Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (J-MC, JGD).
5
Department of Psychology, University of Quebec in Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (AM).

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To document the prevalence and characteristics of nonfearful panic attacks (NFPA) and their consequences on panic identification and access to mental health services in patients with noncardiac chest pain.

METHOD:

This cross-sectional sample included 339 patients with noncardiac chest pain and panic attacks. A structured interview was used to collect data on panic attacks, psychiatric morbidity, sociodemographic variables, and previous consultations with a psychiatrist or psychologist. Medical files were reviewed to assess the rate of NFPA identification in the emergency department.

RESULTS:

In our sample of patients with noncardiac chest pain, 39% of those with panic attacks reported NFPA. Psychiatric morbidity was lower in patients with NFPA than in patients with typical panic attacks (49.6% vs 71.1%), as was the mean number of panic symptoms (6 vs 7.8). The rate of panic attack identification was similar in both the groups, but patients with NFPA were less likely to have consulted a psychiatrist or psychologist during their lifetime (34% vs 46%).

CONCLUSIONS:

NFPA were highly prevalent in our sample of emergency department patients with noncardiac chest pain. NFPA is associated with significant psychiatric morbidity but these patients were less likely to follow through with referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist than patients with typical panic attacks were.

PMID:
25583556
DOI:
10.1016/j.psym.2014.07.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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