Panic disorder without fear in patients with angiographically normal coronary arteries

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1990 May;178(5):307-12. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199005000-00005.


By DSM-III-R criteria, patients may be diagnosed as having panic disorder without reporting the experience of intense fear. However, if such patients do not report subjective fear, they may be less likely to receive a panic diagnosis. The authors studied 32 subjects with angiographically normal coronary arteries who fit panic disorder criteria. A total of 13 (41%) reported no fear during their last major attack. These subjects were contrasted with those who did report fear. Few differences were found in group demographic data or responses to self-report questionnaires. We conclude that there appear to be few differences between the nonfear panic disorder subjects and those who do report fear. This conclusion awaits further support using challenge tests, medication trials, biological indices, alexithymia inventories, and family studies. The recognition of the existence of this subtype is likely to increase the number of patients receiving the panic disorder diagnosis in cardiology settings, in psychiatric settings, and in research projects using structured clinical interviews.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiography*
  • Chest Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Angiography*
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic*
  • Reference Values
  • Statistics as Topic