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Psychosom Med. 2010 Sep;72(7):620-5. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181e6df90. Epub 2010 Jun 18.

The impact of pain and depression on recovery after coronary artery bypass grafting.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. moronene@upmc.edu



To describe the relationship between pain and depression on recovery after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).


A secondary data analysis on 453 depressed and nondepressed post-CABG patients enrolled in a randomized, controlled, effectiveness trial of telephone-delivered collaborative care for depression. Outcome measures were collected from March 2004 to September 2007 and included pain, physical function, and mood symptoms.


Depressed patients (baseline Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score ≥10) versus those without depression reported significantly worse pain scores on the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey Bodily Pain Scale at baseline and up to 12 months post-CABG, p < .05. Among patients with depression, those who received collaborative care reported significantly better pain scores at each time point between 2 and 12 months post-CABG versus depressed patients randomized to the usual care control group, p < .05. Regardless of intervention status, depressed participants with at least moderate pain at baseline reported significantly lower functional status (measured by the Duke Activity Status Index) at 8 and 12 months versus depressed patients with none or mild pain, p < .05. Depressed patients with at least moderate pain at baseline were also significantly less likely to show improvement of depressive symptoms throughout the course of follow-up versus depressed patients with little or no pain, p < .05. These findings controlled for age, gender, education, race, comorbid conditions, and baseline pain diagnosis.


Depression and pain seem to influence functional recovery post-CABG. The relationship between these two conditions and 12-month outcomes should be considered by clinicians when planning treatment.

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