Panic disorder respiratory subtype: psychopathology and challenge tests – an update


Braz. J. Psychiatry




Panic disorder (PD) pathophysiology is very heterogeneous, and the discrimination of distinct subtypes could be very useful. A subtype based on respiratory symptoms is known to constitute a specific subgroup. However, evidence to support the respiratory subtype (RS) as a distinct subgroup of PD with a well-defined phenotype remains controversial. Studies have focused on characterization of the RS based on symptoms and response to CO2. In this line, we described clinical and biological aspects focused on symptomatology and CO2 challenge tests in PD RS. The main symptoms that characterize RS are dyspnea (shortness of breath) and a choking sensation. Moreover, patients with the RS tended to be more responsive to CO2 challenge tests, which triggered more panic attacks in this subgroup. Future studies should focus on discriminating respiratory-related clusters and exploring psychophysiological and neuroimaging outcomes in order to provide robust evidence to confirm RS as a distinct subtype of PD.

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