Affiliation: Panic and Respiration Laboratory. Institute of Psychiatry (IPUB) of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Chest pain may be due benign diseases but often suggests an association with coronary artery disease, which justifies a quick search for medical care. However, some people have anxiety disorder with symptoms that resemble clearly an acute coronary syndrome. More specifically, during a panic attack an abrupt feeling of fear accompanied by symptoms such as breathlessness, palpitations and chest pain, makes patients believe they have a heart attack and confuse physicians about the diagnosis. The association between panic disorder and coronary artery disease has been extensively studied in recent years and, although some studies have shown anxiety disorders coexisting or increasing the risk of heart disease, one causal hypothesis is still missing. The aim of this systematic review is to present the various ways in which the scientific community has been investigating the relation between chest pain, panic disorder and coronary artery disease.