A closer look at the relationships between panic attacks, emergency department visits and non-cardiac chest pain

J Health Psychol. 2019 May;24(6):717-725. doi: 10.1177/1359105316683785. Epub 2017 Jan 5.


This study examined the prevalence of emergency department visits prompted by panic attacks in patients with non-cardiac chest pain. A validated structured telephone interview was used to assess panic attacks and their association with the emergency department consultation in 1327 emergency department patients with non-cardiac chest pain. Patients reported at least one panic attack in the past 6 months in 34.5 per cent (95% confidence interval: 32.0%-37.1%) of cases, and 77.1 per cent (95% confidence interval: 73.0%-80.7%) of patients who reported panic attacks had visited the emergency department with non-cardiac chest pain following a panic attack. These results indicate that panic attacks may explain a significant proportion of emergency department visits for non-cardiac chest pain.

Keywords: chest pain; emergency department; non-cardiac chest pain; panic attacks; panic disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chest Pain / epidemiology*
  • Chest Pain / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Panic Disorder / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Qualitative Research

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