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J Psychosom Res. 1992 Dec;36(8):723-9.

Factors which provoke post-infarction depression: results from the post-infarction late potential study (PILP).

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  • 1Institut und Poliklinik für Psychosomatische Medizin, Psychotherapie und Medizinische Psychologie, Technischen Universität München, F.R.G.


Symptoms of depression in the majority of patients immediately following acute myocardial infarctions (AMI) resolve rapidly; they are an adjustment reaction. However, in a group of 552 male patients there were 80 (14.5%) patients with persistent major depressive symptoms during a finite period after AMI. Infarction size was assessed by maximum creatine kinase levels, the QRS-complex and the occurrence of late potentials. These measures did not correlate with the degree of depressed moods in these groups. An arrhythmic event in the early hospitalization phase, a recurrent infarction, dyspnoea, and persistent angina pectoris before the AMI were significantly related to more profound degrees of depression. Patients who reported serious life-events in the last 2 yr before AMI, or who suffered from exhaustion and fatigue in the prehospital phase were subject to significantly higher levels of depression. A prodromal phase prior to hospitalization free of bodily symptoms and the use of denial were related to low levels of depression. The logistic regression model incorporating all univariate significant variables revealed that symptoms of exhaustion and fatigue prior to AMI had the strongest independent correlation with post AMI depression.

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