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Research Article

Carbon Dioxide Inhalation Induces Dose-Dependent and Age-Related Negative Affectivity

  • Eric J. Griez mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: Eric.Griez@pn.unimaas.nl

    Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience, Upstate Medical University, State University of New York, Syracuse, New York, United States of America

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  • Alessandro Colasanti,

    Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

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  • Rob van Diest,

    Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

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  • Ewa Salamon,

    Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

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  • Koen Schruers

    Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

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  • Published: October 03, 2007
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000987

Reader Comments (1)

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Implications for treatment

Posted by sraosha on 10 Oct 2007 at 05:13 GMT

What are the implications for treatment of PD. Typically, slow deep breaths are recommended to reduce panic symptoms while waiting for the panic to pass. Since CO2 may be the trigger, presumably deep hyperventilation would reduce panic symptoms by throwing off excess CO2, thus removing the trigger? So, breathing in a paper bag would be contraindicated, since CO2 would then be recycled and likely elevate blood levels.


RE: Implications for treatment

gabriel1 replied to sraosha on 16 Oct 2007 at 09:20 GMT

This is a very good observation. However, we must keep in mind that the CO2 challenge is a model of panic though to trigger symptoms by momentarily activating a system that monitors acute acidosis (such as that produced by suffocation). Therefore the panic reaction to this maneuver is also very brief (seconds rather than minutes) when compared to natural spontaneous panic attacks. During provocation procedures using CO2 high doses are necessary to provoke a reaction. Such is the case of either a couple of breaths of 35% CO2 or a continuous inhalation of lower concentrations for several minutes. Due to the nature of CO2 and the efficiency of the bicarbonate buffer system, pH homeostasis is rapidly restored once these procedures are terminated. In this scope, the CO2 increases produced by breathing in a paper bag for a few minutes are usually too small to exacerbate panic. In any case, rebreathing in a paper bag to treat the respiratory alkalosis during acute anxiety may not advisable for a number of reasons. In prolonged rebreathing the increases of CO2 can potentially be enough to exacerbate panic symptoms and moreover dangerously lead to hypoxemia. Additionally, one study suggests that paper bag re breathing has no specific effect on the alleviation of symptoms produced by hyperventilation. Coaching patients to take slow and shallow breaths may give the same results with less potential adverse effects.