News Editor: Renato M.E. Sabbatini, PhD

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Panic Disorder or Heart Disease ?

Many women who think that they have the panic disorder, characterized by sudden and terrifying attacks of racing heartbeats, acute anxiety and fear, may in fact have a common, treatable, non-life threatening heart disease, called PSVT (paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia). Clinical researchers in Detroit and Spokane have determined that 45 % of the women with this condition where misdiagnosed, often being told by the physician that their tachycardia (racing heartbeat) was emotional or stress related (twice more than men). Twelve percent of those underwent psychiatric treatment, and it took an average of more than three years to correctly diagnose the heart condition. More than 90 % of the patients with PSVT can be treated simply with medication.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, March 10, 1997

Copyright 2002 State University of Campinas, Brazil
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