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J Psychosom Res. 2000 Apr-May;48(4-5):455-62.

Effects of anxiety and depression on 5-year mortality in 5,057 patients referred for exercise testing.

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  • 1Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Göttingen, von-Siebold-Strasse 5, D-37075, Göttingen, Germany.



Beyond acute myocardial infarction, little is known about the effect of depression, and especially anxiety, on prognosis in cardiology patients. The present study aims to examine the effect of anxiety and depression on 5-year mortality in patients referred for exercise testing.


A total of 5,057 patients referred for routine exercise testing completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) before undergoing the exercise test. Survival data were obtained from 5,017 (99.2%) of those patients after 5.7 +/- 0.8 years. HADS scores and cardiological baseline data were used to predict mortality.


In univariate analyses, HADS depression was not a significant predictor; high anxiety was associated with improved survival. Logistic regression revealed nine independent objective predictors from which we computed a composite somatic risk index. When controlling for this physical risk index, anxiety and depression had independent, opposite effects; that is, anxiety was associated with a lower mortality and depression with a higher mortality.


Anxiety and depression scores have different predictive effects on mortality in patients referred for exercise testing. These effects are independent of a highly effective physical risk index, suggesting that psychological screening of cardiology patients might improve risk stratification.

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