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Depression and myocardial infarction: relationship between heart and mind.

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Department of Psychiatry, Academic Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands.


There is a relationship between depression and Myocardial Infarction (MI) as higher levels of depression and severe depression (major vs minor) are associated with higher morbidity and mortality due to cardiac events, which are mainly caused by arrhythmia. Second, severity of MI is not or even inversely related to development of depression. Depression post-MI goes often unrecognized as only 10% of depressed MI patients are diagnosed as such. This underestimation of depression is attributed to its atypical profile, tendency of physicians to interpret depressive symptoms as a transient and 'natural' reaction to a life-threatening event, and the scarce knowledge of risk factors associated with development of post-MI depression. During the first 18 months following MI major depression occurs in 15-30% of patients. Depression should be assessed in an early stage as depression has the highest prevalence in hospital and in the first 6 months post-MI. Risk factors for developing post-MI depression include complications during hospitalization, prescription of benzodiazepines during hospitalisation, previous history of depression, and not being able to stop smoking. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) appear to be first choice treatment in post-MI depression. As yet there is no information on the efficacy and safety of Serotonin and Noradrenalin Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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