U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A female asked:

Is a panic induced heart attack possible? i am writing a book, and i wish to know if it is possible. i don't want to sound uninformed!

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kathirae Severson
Internal Medicine 33 years experience
. Apical : . Apical ballooning syndrome or "broken heart syndrome" affects mainly postmenopausal women, but can occur in persons of any age. It typically occurs after severe mental or emotional stress such as the loss of a spouse or child. The symptoms mimic those of a heart attack, but unlike heart attack patients, these patients to not have blockages in their heart arteries. The symptoms are very similar to a heart attack and the patient often is initially diagnosed and treated as if they are experiencing a heart attack, however, they are actually experiencing a ballooning and weakening of the left ventricle, which is the pumping chamber of the heart. This temporary weakening of the heart is often completely reversible. It's thought that when the individual experiences severe emotional stress, stress hormones may be released causing temporary constriction of the arteries of the heart weakening the heart wall. Most heart attacks are caused by a complete or near complete blockage of a heart artery as opposed to constriction of the artery. True heart attacks typically occur in individuals with risk factors such as high cholesterol, hypertension, tobacco use, or diabetes. Broken heart syndrome can occur in individuals that do not otherwise have known risk factors for heart attacks. Panic could help precipitate a heart attack if the person has underlying risk factors for heart attacks. Hyperventilating can lead to lower oxygen levels in the body leading to heart attacks to those with other risk factors. Panic attacks that cause elevations in blood pressure or heart rate could theoretically cause a cholesterol plaque to break off causing a blockage of a heart blood vessel leading to a heart attack. However, the frequency of this occurring is not specifically known.
Dr. Pareena Bilkoo
Cardiology 22 years experience
Panicpanic attacks: It is very rare for a panic attack to actually cause a heart attack. The symptoms though can be very similar.
Dr. Gregg Friedman
A Verified Doctor commented
A US doctor answered Learn more
Gregg L. Friedman MD, Psychiatrist, Agrees
Mar 12, 2013

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Educational text
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Educational text
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership
Last updated Oct 3, 2016

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.