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The detection of a low serum phosphate level is not unusual in an Emergency Department, especially in clinical conditions linked to hyperventilation and subsequent respiratory alkalosis, asthma, sepsis, severe pain, anxiety. Symptoms of hypophosphatemia are typically not specific when the imbalance is not particularly severe, but if hyphophosphatemia does not resolve rhabdomyolisis, hemolysis, decreased tissue oxygenation and respiratory failure can be observed. Only recently some authors have pointed out that the level of serum phosphate in patient with anxiety and panic disorders can give information on the severity of the attacks as well on the clinical course of the disease. In a retrospective analysis on 599 case of hypophosphatemia observed in our ED, the percentage of case of panic disorders was particularly high among patients with lower phosphatemia. Therefore, we decided to examine this aspect closely, assessing if the determination of serum phosphate could be useful in the management of panic attacks at first approach in emergency room. Our observation are consistent with the statement that hypophosphatemia is one of the main clinical aspect of panic attack, and strongly support the hypothesis that hypophosphatemia correlates with the most severe symptoms of panic attack and should be itself considered as one of the most important aspect of this syndrome. Serum phosphate levels appear to mirror its clinical course, and can be used in the clinical setting of an Emergency Department, for the confirmation of a diagnosis of anxiety-panic disorder and as marker of the response to therapy
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