My father is 73 y.o. and has a recent history of heart disease. Last year, he had a stent put in and was feeling better than ever. recently, however, he has had problems sleeping at night due to anxiety that he might have a heart attack. he feels hyper-aware of his heart beat which causes an increase and irregularity to the rhythm. he has started experiencing palpitations and generalized disorientation during the attacks, too. After getting a battery of tests that revealed no problems, he recognized that he is having panic attacks, but is worried that the attacks could lead to a heart attack. I have talked hi into taking yoga (which he had his first class tonight!!!). Any other suggestions for him? Is this common among cardiac patients?

Thank you!!!
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replied June 26th, 2008
Doctor
For patients with proven ischemic heart disease it is normally to fear from another heart attack. Neurotic persons like your father will feel greater fear which will cause him to feel symptoms even when there are no symptoms or will feel the symptoms more severe than they really are. Panic disorderis a kind of neurotic disorder that can be present even in persons without any heart disorder.
Your father can request medicines (anxiolitic drugs and antidepressants) and psychotherapy. Yoga can be also useful.
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