, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 742-750
Date: 03 Feb 2013

Panic Disorder in Children and Adolescents with Noncardiac Chest Pain

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Abstract

Adults with panic disorder (PD) often present to medical settings with noncardiac chest pain (NCCP), but less is known about children and adolescents with this complaint. We sought to characterize PD in youth with NCCP and compare features with PD in youth in psychiatric outpatient settings. Using a semi-structured diagnostic interview we evaluated 132 youth (ages 8–17) with NCCP recruited from two medical settings. Twenty-seven (20.5 %) met full DSM-IV criteria for PD, eleven of which were children (<13 years). Most frequent panic symptoms were somatic complaints, although cognitive symptoms were also common. Only 14.8 % had clinically significant agoraphobia. Comorbid anxiety disorders and major depression were common. Overall, clinical features of PD among youth with NCCP are similar to PD in psychiatric settings. Interventions for PD may benefit youth who present initially with NCCP. Systematic psychiatric screening could increase detection of PD and improve care for this population.