Sometimes a panic attack can be mistaken for a heart attack. The opposite is more dangerous as it can lead on acting too late when a real heart attack strikes. The below diagram explains the various symptoms. Panic attack symptoms include sharp stabbing pain in chest, sudden onset due to stress, symptoms that resolve in 20-30 minutes. On the other hand heart attack has the following: squeezing pain and pressure in chest, sudden onset due to physical exertion, pain that radiates to arm, jaw, shoulder; another symptom is pain that gets worse not better as time passes. Shortness of breath, sweating are other symptoms of the heart attack.