Background: Panic attacks are heterogeneous with regards to symptom profile. Subtypes of panic attacks have been proposed, of which the most investigated is respiratory panic attacks (RPA). Limited information exists about RPA in the general population. Method: The prevalence and correlates of RPA and non-respiratory panic attacks (NRPA) were examined in a subsample (n = 8.796) of individuals participating in a cross-sectional survey of the adult general population of six European countries. Panic attacks, mental disorders, and chronic physical conditions were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) 3.0. Data on use of health services and disability were obtained. Results: The lifetime prevalence of RPA was 6.77 and the 12-month prevalence was 2.26. No robust associations of RPA with sociodemographic characteristics, mental disorders or physical conditions were found as compared to NRPA. RPA were associated with increased use of health services but similar disability in comparison to NRPA. Limitations: Few direct data are available on the validity of the CIDI to assess RPA. Other definitions of RPA exist in the literature. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there are very few differences between RPA and NRPA and do not support the need of subtyping panic attacks in current classification systems. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.