Correlates of mitral valve prolapse among patients with panic disorder.
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Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) has been observed more frequently than expected among patients who report the current experience of panic attacks. The MVP observed has been generally of a mild variety and has not been associated with clinically meaningful variables in studies to date. In the current study, 82 patients with panic disorder (PD) who were recruited for a study of the drug treatment of PD were assessed for the presence of MVP, and patients with and without MVP were compared on several variables. Statistically significant findings were that patients with MVP were younger and more often female; reported an earlier age of onset of PD and more frequent panic attacks; and had a higher ponderal index, lower weight, and lower levels of triiodothyronine than patients without MVP. Contrary to previous studies, these results suggest that the presence of MVP among patients with PD is associated with potentially meaningful differences. While generalizability may be limited and causal relationships speculative at this time, the variables identified in this study deserve more explicit attention in future studies of PD and MVP.