Unexplained chest pain: when is it panic disorder?

Clin Cardiol. 1997 Mar;20(3):187-94. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960200303.


Noncardiac chest pain is a common costly phenomenon in the cardiology setting. Recent research suggests that panic disorder, a highly distressful yet treatable anxiety disorder, occurs in a significant proportion of noncardiac chest pain patients. This article reviews research on the prevalence of panic disorder in patients seen in cardiology settings for unexplained chest pain. Financial, psychosocial, and historical aspects of noncardiac chest pain are described. Panic disorder and the potential consequences of its nonrecognition by physicians are examined. Current psychological and pharmacologic treatments are reviewed. Recommendations on the management of panic patients in the cardiology setting are provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chest Pain / diagnosis
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Chest Pain / psychology*
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Panic Disorder / complications*
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Panic Disorder / therapy
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis