People who are diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD) and are later diagnosed with depression face a risk of death that is twice as high as CAD patients without depression, according to new research published in the European Heart Journal – Quality of Care & Clinical Outcomes . The increased risk persisted regardless of whether depression was diagnosed immediately or years after the diagnosis of CAD.
In the study of 24,137 patients with angiographically determined CAD, 15 per cent were subsequently diagnosed with depression. After adjustment, post-CAD depression was the strongest predictor of death (hazard ratio [HR] 2.00; P<.0001). The association persisted among subgroups with no prior depression diagnosis (HR 2.00; P<.0001), and those with stable angina (HR 1.84; P<.0001), unstable angina (HR 2.25; P<.0001) and myocardial infarction (HR 2.09; P<.0001).
Lead author, Heidi May said the findings highlight the importance of screening for and treating depression, even years after someone is diagnosed with heart disease. “We’ve completed several depression-related studies and been looking at this connection for many years,” she said. “The data just keeps building on itself, showing that if you have heart disease and depression and it’s not appropriately treated in a timely fashion, it’s not a good thing for your long-term well-being.”