Cerebral correlates of heart rate variations during a spontaneous panic attack in the fMRI scanner.
Spiegelhalder K., Hornyak M., Kyle SD., Paul D., Blechert J., Seifritz E., Hennig J., Tebartz van Elst L., Riemann D., Feige B.
We report the first published case study of a suddenly occurring panic attack in a patient with no prior history of panic disorder during combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI, 1.5 Tesla) and electrocardiogram (ECG) recording. The single case was a 46-year-old woman who developed a panic attack near the planned end of the fMRI acquisition session, which therefore had to be aborted. Correlational analysis of heart rate fluctuations and fMRI data revealed a significant negative association in the left middle temporal gyrus. Additionally, regions-of-interest (ROI) analyses indicated significant positive associations in the left amygdala, and trends towards significance in the right amygdala and left insula.