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Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Oct 15;60(8):837-42. Epub 2006 Jun 14.

Acute depressed mood as a trigger of acute coronary syndromes.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.



Some cases of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) may be triggered by emotional states such as anger, but it is not known if acute depressed mood can act as a trigger.


295 men and women with a verified ACS were studied. Depressed mood in the two hours before ACS symptom onset was compared with the same period 24 hours earlier (pair-matched analysis), and with usual levels of depressed mood, using case-crossover methods.


46 (18.2%) patients experienced depressed mood in the two hours before ACS onset. The odds of ACS following depressed mood were 2.50 (95% confidence intervals 1.05 to 6.56) in the pair-matched analysis, while the relative risk of ACS onset following depressed mood was 4.33 (95% confidence intervals 3.39 to 6.11) compared with usual levels of depressed mood. Depressed mood preceding ACS onset was more common in lower income patients (p = .032), and was associated with recent life stress, but was not related to psychiatric status.


Acute depressed mood may elicit biological responses that contribute to ACS, including vascular endothelial dysfunction, inflammatory cytokine release and platelet activation. Acute depressed mood may trigger potentially life-threatening cardiac events.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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