People who were depressed in the hospital after bypass surgery were 3 times more likely to suffer a subsequent heart problem within the next 3 months than patients who were not depressed. Women had an overall 3-fold risk of future cardiac events when compared with men. However, future heart problems occurred in nearly 50% of depressed women, whereas only 18% of women who were not depressed had another heart problem, said researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The results of this study, which were presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Savannah, Georgia, on March 1–4, 2000 demonstrated that state of mind plays an important role in recovery from heart surgery, said Ingrid Connerney, MD, the principal investigator. The study found that 21% of depressed men had future heart problems compared with only 6% of nondepressed men.
“We looked at many factors, including the patient’s age, gender, marital status, smoking behavior, and depression,” said Dr Connerney, “but it turned out that only depression, heart condition, and gender mattered, and they were of equal importance.” She also noted that the increased risk faced by women could not be explained by differences in demographics, severity of disease, or other factors.
- Copyright © 2000 by American Heart Association