Heart patients who develop depression after their diagnosis have worse outcomes and higher risks of heart attack and mortality, compared to those without depression. The study included nearly 23,000 heart patients in Ontario, Canada all diagnosed with heart disease.
During the three-year follow-up, patients with depression were 83 percent more likely to die of any cause and 36 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack, compared to those without depression.
Lead researcher Dr. Natalie Szpakowski said, “Patients who develop depression after being diagnosed with heart disease have a much worse prognosis. Our findings suggest that these patients may need to be screened for mood disorders, whether it’s by their family doctor or cardiologist.”
Heart patients with depression were more likely to be women and experience greater chest pain. Other contributing factors for depression were smoking, diabetes, and having more than one other health condition, which can all worsen health outcomes.
Szpakowski concluded, “This is consistent with the literature in that women are more prone to depression, whether it’s due to sex hormones or social roles, we don’t fully know. Other studies have also found that more severe chest pain has been linked to depression, and we know people with more medical illnesses are more susceptible to being depressed.”
The findings will be presented on April 4, 2016 at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago.