Objective: The purpose of this study was to measure the response of basilar artery blood flow to hyperventilation in patients with panic disorder.
Method: Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography was used to measure basilar artery flow during rest and after hyperventilation in 16 patients with panic disorder and eight normal comparison subjects. The subjects rated their dizziness at each phase.
Results: The patients with panic disorder demonstrated greater reduction in flow rates and greater increases in dizziness than the normal comparison subjects.
Conclusions: The greater basilar artery sensitivity to hyperventilation shown by panic disorder patients suggests a possible mechanism for the development of neurological symptoms during panic attacks.