Thursday, November 15, 2007

Panic attacks and heart disease

I read with interest this post from the Clinical Cases and Images blog which points to a paper in the Archives of General Psychiatry demonstrating a link between panic attacks and cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. But Dr. Wes in a blistering attack cites the study’s flaws and asks whether these women were in fact exhibiting heart disease symptoms misdiagnosed as panic attacks.

So what’s going on? From where I sit the study makes a contribution (albeit a weak one) to the growing body of evidence of a relation between panic disorder and heart disease. I previously posted evidence that myocardial perfusion abnormalities occur during panic attacks and cited an epidemiologic association.

A question remains. How many of the episodes of heart disease cited in the paper were actually examples of takotsubo cardiomyopathy, an under appreciated entity with a demonstrated preponderance in postmenopausal females strongly suspected to be a brain-heart disorder?
For a broader view of brain-heart disorders see my post here.

1 comment:

RL said...

Amen. Lets recall the 9/11 study which looked into the spike in heart problems among those who suffered trauma at that time.
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