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Heart patients with depression experience earlier mortality


While it might seem natural that the risk of mortality increases in patients with coronary stent implants, researchers have now found that if those people are also depressed, they are one and a half times more likely to die compared with those patients who were not depressed. This was true at a seven year follow up exam, post stent surgery, and this was regardless of age, gender, and other clinical characteristics.

Depression has long been associated with poor outcomes in coronary arty disease, but those earlier studies focused on short term. These studies tended to focus on patients who suffered from myocardial infarction or coronary bypass as well.

For this study, researchers wanted to see the effect of depression on people who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) during a seven year follow up period. They recruited 1,234 PCI patients who completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to evaluate their depression at six months post surgery.

As many as 324 patients were diagnosed with depression. At the seven year follow up, 187 deaths had occurred. They ascertained that 76 of the deaths were depressed patients. That was 23.5%. Of the remaining 910 patients, 12.2% experienced death at the seven year mark.

“The main finding is that patients who are depressed after coronary stenting have a worse prognosis. They die earlier than non-depressed patients,” according to research leader Nikki Damen, PhD student at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

Researchers are continuing to study to find out why. It may be that depressed patients live unhealthier lifestyles. It could be that depression changes the sympathetic nervous system which affects blood flow. More research is needed.

Source: European Society of Cardiology, MedicalNewsToday

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