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Stroke. 2001 Mar;32(3):696-701.

Mortality at 12 and 24 months after stroke may be associated with depressive symptoms at 1 month.

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Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.



Previous studies have reported mood symptoms after stroke to be a risk factor for later mortality. The purpose of the study was to examine whether mood symptoms at 1 month after stroke may be a risk factor for mortality at 12 and 24 months.


As a cohort within a randomized controlled trial, 448 hospital patients were seen at 1 month after stroke and were randomized into a trial of psychological therapy. Follow-up was at 12 and 24 months. Mood symptoms were assessed by the Present State Examination and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)-28. Measures of disability before and after stroke and of cognitive impairment after stroke were also taken at 1 month. Mortality was determined at 12 and 24 months after stroke.


In logistic regression analyses, mortality at 12 months was associated unifactorally with scoring on the GHQ-D subscale (odds ratio [OR] 2.4, 95% CI 1.3 to 4.5) and scoring in the highest quartile of the GHQ (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.1 to 8.8). In multiple logistic regression analyses, only GHQ-D remained a significant predictor after controlling for other known predictors. At 24 months, scoring on GHQ-D (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.4 to 4.1) and in the highest GHQ quartile (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.0 to 4.8) was significantly associated with mortality in unifactoral analyses. Scoring on the GHQ-D remained a predictor of mortality after controlling for other variables. Psychiatric disorder, such as major depression (according to International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision), was not statistically significantly associated with increased mortality at 12 or 24 months.


Mood symptoms on a self-reported rating scale were associated with 12- and 24-month mortality after stroke, after adjustment for factors associated with stroke severity. The result is in keeping with other evidence that depressive symptoms are a risk factor for death from vascular disease.

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