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June 1986

Episodic Hypertension Secondary to Panic Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Hypertension Unit, Department of Medicine (Dr White), and the Department of Psychiatry (Dr Baker), University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington.

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(6):1129-1130. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360180125020

• Episodic elevation of blood pressure was evaluated in two middle-aged men by assessing home, clinic, and 24-hour ambulatory values following exclusion of secondary forms of hypertension. Both individuals had normotensive home and clinic readings. The 24-hour blood pressure was 125/85±12/9 mm Hg in patient 1 and 119/84±13/13 mm Hg in patient 2; however, both patients experienced large, sustained rises in blood pressure associated with panic attacks that were not abolished with prophylactic benzodiazepine therapy. Episodic blood pressure elevations were not associated with concomitant increases in heart rate. Patient 1 underwent extensive psychological investigation that diagnosed a panic disorder, and he underwent therapy that reduced the frequency and intensity of his panic-related hypertensive episodes. Because patient 2 demonstrated hypertensive readings at work, he was given a β-blocking agent that ultimately controlled his blood pressure during episodes of anxiety and panic. These findings suggest that patients with panic attacks may present

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