Depression and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality: cause or consequence?
European Heart Journal
Depression after myocardial infarction has been associated with increased cardiovascular mortality. This study assessed whether depressive symptoms were associated with adverse outcomes in people with a history of an acute coronary syndrome, and evaluated possible explanations for such an association. Methods and results Depressive symptoms were assessed using the General Health Questionnaire at least 5 months after hospital admission for acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina in 1130
... le angina in 1130 participants of the Long-Term Intervention with Pravastatin in Ischaemic Disease (LIPID) Study, a multicentre, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of cholesterol-lowering treatment. Cardiovascular symptoms, self-rated general health, cardiovascular risk factors, employment status, social support and life events were also assessed at the baseline visit. Cardiovascular death (n=114), nonfatal myocardial infarction (n=108), non-fatal stroke (n=53) and unstable angina (n=274) were documented during a median follow-up period of 8.1 years. Individuals with depressive symptoms (General Health Questionnaire score ≥5; 22% of participants) were more likely to report angina, dyspnoea, claudication, poorer general health, not being in paid employment, few social contacts and/or adverse life events (P<0.05 for all). There was a modest association between depressive symptoms and cardiovascular events (hazard ratio [HR] 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-1.77), but not cardiovascular death (HR 1.12. 95% CI 0.71-1.77). After adjustment for symptoms related to cardiovascular disease, the HR for cardiovascular events was 1.22 (95% CI 0.97-1.53). After further adjustment for employment status, social support and life events, the HR was 1.13 (95% confidence interval 0.87-1.47). Conclusions There was no significant association between depressive symptoms and fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular events after adjustment for cardiovascular symptoms associated with poorer prognosis. Previously observed associations between depression and cardiovascular mortality may not be causal.