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Hyperventilation causes hypocapnia and respiratory alkalosis and thereby predisposes to coronary vasoconstriction and cardiac arrhythmia. Diagnostic methods for use between episodes have not been established. In this study of 100 patients and 25 control subjects the resting end-tidal PCO2 (Pet CO2) levels and the results of a forced hyperventilation test did not show a significant difference between the groups. However the patients hyperventilated more profoundly in response to emotional stimulation, and were less aware of inappropriate breathing and hypocapnia. It is suggested that these differences should be accommodated in cardiac rehabilitation.