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Am Heart J. 2000 Oct;140(4 Suppl):63-9.

Depression and ischemic heart disease.

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  • 1Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.


Major depression is a common comorbidity associated with ischemic heart disease (IHD). There is growing evidence that psychological stress in general and depression in particular predispose to cardiovascular disease. Persons who have mental stress during daily life are at twice the risk of myocardial ischemia, and patients with post-myocardial infarction depression have higher mortality rates than nondepressed controls. These data suggest a psychophysiologic mechanism underlying the vulnerability of depressed patients to IHD. Clinical studies have demonstrated that depression is associated with a much higher risk of both cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, which could be caused by platelet activation. Physicians should maintain a heightened level of clinical suspicion for depression and depressive disorders in persons with IHD, particularly those individuals who are recovering from an acute ischemic event, such as myocardial infarction. Furthermore, depression may complicate the recovery of IHD, but in most cases depression can be effectively treated with antidepressant agents.

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