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Mitral Valve Prolapse and the Anxiety Disorders
Stephen R. Dager; A. Kim Saal; Keith A. Comess; David L. Dunner
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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The authors thank Pamela Stern and Marcy Hall for their assistance in preparing this paper.

Department of psychiatry, and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Psychiatry research unit at Harborview Medical Center, ZA-99, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104

Cardiology division of the department of internal medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachuetts., Coronary care unit at Mr. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Adult echocardiography lab oratory of the department of internal medical at the University of Arizona School of Medicine in Tucson

Department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Psychiatry at Harborview Medical Center

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Confusing and contradictory resuits have emerged from studies of the relationship between anxiety disorders and mitral valve prolapse (MVP), a commonly occurring heart defect that has been associated with chest pain, palpitations, tachycardia, and arrhythmias. Patients with anxiety disorders, particularly panic at- tacks, appear to have an increased prevalence of MVP compared with control groups or the general population, although most individuals with MVP are asymptomatic. MVP does not appear to distinguish a subgroup of patients with panic disorder on the basis of vulnerability to panic attacks, symptom presentation, biological abnormalities, or treatment response. The authors review some current hypotheses about causal relationships between anxiety disorders and MVP, describe methods of diagnosing MVP and their shortcomings, and identify possible medi- cal complications of MVP and ways to treat or prevent them.

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