Atypical angina in patients with coronary artery disease suggests panic disorder

Int J Psychiatry Med. 1989;19(4):341-6. doi: 10.2190/ak3t-v52n-7d5y-gff6.


The occurrence of psychiatric disorders in patients with "medical" problems is not only possible but may be even facilitated by these problems. This article examines the relationship between the type of chest pain and the diagnosis of panic disorder among coronary artery disease (CAD) patients. Forty-nine such cardiology patients were interviewed using a structured instrument. Forty percent of patients with atypical angina met DSM-III-R criteria for current panic disorder while no panic disorder was identified in the typical angina group. This finding should have great implications for the care of CAD patients. At least many of the atypical angina patients could benefit from standard effective treatment for panic disorder. This would likely improve their functioning and decrease the financial burden on them and the health care system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angina Pectoris, Variant / diagnostic imaging
  • Angina Pectoris, Variant / psychology*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Coronary Angiography*
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Test
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic / physiology*
  • Personality Tests
  • Sick Role*