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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2006 Apr;13(2):199-206.

Depressive symptoms as risk factor of cardiovascular mortality in older European men: the Finland, Italy and Netherlands Elderly (FINE) study.

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  • 1Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht The Netherlands.



Depressive symptoms have been suggested to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but this may reflect reversed causality. We investigated to what extent depressive symptoms are a true risk factor for cardiovascular mortality in elderly men.


The Finland, Italy and Netherlands Elderly (FINE) study is a prospective cohort study conducted in Finland, Italy and The Netherlands.


Depressive symptoms were measured with the Zung self-rating Depression Scale in 799 elderly men, aged 70-90 years, free from cardiovascular diseases. Using Cox models, hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated for specific cardiovascular mortality endpoints. The analyses were adjusted for potential confounders, stratified on country and repeated after exclusion of men who died from cardiovascular diseases up to 5 years after baseline.


During 10-years of follow-up 224 (28%) men died from cardiovascular diseases. The adjusted hazard for a five-point increase in depressive symptoms was 1.15 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08-1.23] for cardiovascular mortality. This risk was stronger for mortality from stroke (HR 1.35; 95% CI 1.19-1.53) and heart failure (HR 1.16; 95% CI 1.00-1.35) in comparison with mortality from coronary heart disease (HR 1.08; 95% CI 0.97-1.20) and other degenerative heart diseases (HR 1.06; 95% CI 0.91-1.23). Exclusion of men who died from cardiovascular diseases within 5 years after baseline did not change the strength of the associations. There were no significant differences in HRs between northern and southern Europe.


This study provides further and more convincing prospective evidence for depressive symptoms as a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality in elderly men.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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