The impact of panic disorder on interoception and dyspnea reports in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Nicholas D. Giardino, Jeffrey L. Curtis, James L. Abelson, Anthony P. King, Barbara Pamp, Israel Liberzon, Fernando J. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The prevalence of panic disorder (PD) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is significantly higher than that in the general population. Comorbid anxiety disorders in COPD are associated with a number of worse outcomes, however little is known about the mechanisms by which PD affects patients with COPD. We hypothesized that patients with COPD and PD would have greater dyspnea severity, but not greater somatosensory sensitivity, to dyspneic stimuli.We studied 10 patients with COPD and PD, 9 patients with COPD without PD, and 9 healthy, matched controls. Participants were administered the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3. We tested interoceptive sensitivity using a respiratory load detection protocol and dyspnea ratings in response to inspiratory resistive loads.Participants with COPD and PD had higher anxiety sensitivity scores and reported greater dyspnea in response to resistive loads. However no group differences were found in resistive load detection threshold. Anxiety sensitivity scores accounted for a significant amount of the variance in the group difference in dyspnea ratings.Patients with COPD and PD do not show heightened interoceptive sensitivity, but report greater dyspnea to inspiratory resistive loads. Emotional responses to dyspneic sensations may account for higher dyspnea ratings in patients with PD and COPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-146
Number of pages5
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Dyspnea
  • Panic disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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