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Psychosom Med. 1992 Jul-Aug;54(4):416-21.

Major depression in coronary artery disease patients with vs. without a prior history of depression.

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Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63178.


Major depression (MD) is common in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Some of these patients have a history of prior depressive episodes, whereas others experience their first episode around the same time that their CAD is diagnosed. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are systematic differences between these two subgroups of depressed patients. Of 39 patients with recently diagnosed CAD who met DSM-III-R criteria for MD, 17 (44%) had a prior history of MD. This subgroup had a higher proportion of females (p less than 0.003), more severe depression (p less than 0.004), were marginally younger (p = 0.08), and had slightly less severe CAD (p = 0.07) compared with those with no prior history of MD. These results support the hypothesis that there may be two distinctive subtypes of MD in patients with CAD. Additional studies are needed to determine whether these subgroups differ with respect to course, treatment, and relationship to the coronary artery disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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