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Am Heart J. 2005 Nov;150(5):1017-25.

Sex differences in depression after coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. rachel.mitchell@uhn.on.ca



Previous research suggests that after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, women fare worse than men. This study investigates sex differences in depression during recovery from CABG surgery.


We followed 137 patients (72 men, 65 women) undergoing elective isolated first CABG surgery between July 2003 and April 2004. Patients were interviewed < or = 28 days before surgery and between 6 and 12 weeks after surgery. Patients completed a structured diagnostic interview for major depressive disorder (MDD) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Clinical data were retrieved from patient charts.


Prevalence of MDD before surgery was 28.2%, but decreased to 16.4% after surgery (P = .038). Women had significantly more depressive symptoms than men pre-CABG, with a mean BDI of 12.5 (95% CI 10.6-14.4) for women versus 8.0 (95% CI 6.3-9.8) for men (P = .0001), but not post-CABG. There was a significant sex-by-time interaction with depressive symptoms in women improving almost 6-fold more than in men, with BDI change scores of 4.1 (95% CI 2.0-6.1) for women versus 0.7 (95% CI-1.0-2.5) for men (P = .008). The interaction remained significant after adjusting the model for the predetermined baseline characteristics education, social support, and operative risk.


Women had more depressive symptoms than men pre-CABG, but improved to a level comparable to men post-CABG. Women benefited from CABG as much or more than men in terms of their mental health. Preoperative depressive symptoms should not preclude women from CABG surgery.

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