As a doctor treating heart attacks on a day-to-day basis, I see patients that have panic attacks. And a panic attack, to patients and sometimes to doctors, looks very much like a heart attack. And it takes some effort in terms of doing EKGs and stress testing and other tests to rule out a cardiac etiology.
One important thing to always consider is that the patients that have arrhythmias feel like they’re having a panic attack. The patients that have panic attacks feel like they’re having either a heart attack or arrhythmias. So it’s really important to rule out heart disease and to rule out arrhythmias before we diagnose somebody with panic attacks.