Eight minutes of hyperventilation to an end-tidal PCO2 of less than 20 mmHg led to a panic attack in 7 of 12 patients with panic disorder with agoraphobia and only 1 of 12 normal controls. Patients experienced greater increases in panic symptoms than controls during hyperventilation. Patients who reported more distress from somatic symptoms of hyperventilation during the preceding week were more likely to panic during hyperventilation. Patients who panicked during hyperventilation exhibited a delayed recovery of normocapnia following hyperventilation. Hyperventilation by this protocol is an effective means of inducing panic attacks in the laboratory. A hyperventilation challenge may identify a subgroup of patients for whom hyperventilation symptoms are frequently associated with panic.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry