Jessica’s story: Panic attack

Life prior to TTS

Prior to TTS Jessica was in good health and had recently lost weight. She had a history of sleep apnoea, anxiety and nocturnal panic attacks. Jessica describes her TTS event below.

Triggering event for TTS

“My mother had a fall. Her leg was pinned between the footboard and mattress and she was having to support herself propping up on her arm. She was losing circulation in her leg. She was panicking and I was panicking because I could not free her. The next evening I woke up at 12:30 am with a panic attack. I was frozen with fear. I had absolutely no other symptoms other than severe back pain between my shoulder blades the night before. That and the panic attack. That was it.”

Medical management

Jessica went to the ER and was admitted as her serum troponin level was elevated. She had an echocardiogram that showed her ejection fraction was severely reduced to between 10 and 15%. Her heart rate was up to 140 beats per minute. At discharge from hospital she was prescribed lisinopril, metoprolol and lasix. She was instructed to find and follow up with a cardiologist within 4 weeks.

Life after TTS

Jessica had panic attacks daily for a month after the TTS event. She experienced chest pains, back spasms, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and feelings of being detached from her body. She takes klonopin (clonazepam) as required for anxiety. Jessica had had two visits to the ER since her TTS event due to back and chest pain, but no problems with the heart were found.