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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 162574, 5 pages
Research Article

Panic Attack during Elective Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

118th Psychiatric Department, Psychiatric Hospital of Attiki “Dafni”, 374 Athinon Avenue, 12462 Chaidari, Greece
26th Psychiatric Department, Psychiatric Hospital of Attiki “Dromokaition”, Iera Odos 243, 12461 Athens, Greece
33rd Psychiatric Department, Psychiatric Hospital of Attiki “Dafni”, 374 Athinon Avenue, 12462 Chaidari, Greece
4F. P. Ps. Program of Psychology, Zografou University Campus, 15703 Athens, Greece
5First Department of Psychiatry, Eginition Hospital, Athens University Medical School, Vas. Sofias 72-74, 11528 Athens, Greece
6Department of Gastroenterology, Amalia Fleming Hospital, 25 Martiou 14, 15127 Melissia, Greece

Received 31 May 2011; Accepted 14 July 2011

Academic Editor: Peter Bytzer

Copyright © 2011 Charalampos Mitsonis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) and colonoscopy (CS) can evoke anxiety, embarrassment, and discomfort. These concerns can culminate in panic attacks, which may traumatize patients and significantly decrease their compliance to the procedure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between preendoscopic anxiety and the possibility of a panic attack during an elective gastrointestinal endoscopy (EGE). Methods. The study population comprised of 79 Greek outpatients. The examination was carried out without the use of conscious sedation. Patients' anxiety levels were assessed before the procedure using the Greek version of the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-Y). Results. Seventy-nine patients were enrolled: 45 EGD and 34 CS. Females had higher state and trait anxiety levels than males (48.14 ± 7.94 versus 44.17 ± 7.43, 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ; and 43.68 ± 6.95 versus 39.86 ± 7.46, 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ). Patients who experienced panic attack had significantly higher levels of both trait and state anxiety, compared to those who were panic-free. There was no significant relationship between panic attacks and sex or type of procedure. Conclusions. Patients who experience panic attacks during endoscopic procedures appear to have significantly higher anxiety levels before the procedure. Administering the STAI questionnaire prior to the endoscopy seems to be a useful screening method for vulnerable patients.