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J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown). 2008 Apr;9(4):356-62. doi: 10.2459/JCM.0b013e3282785240.

Is there an association between depression and cardiovascular mortality or sudden death?

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Division of Cardiology and Arrhythmologic Centre, Ospedale Civile, Cento (FE), Italy.


The results of many studies and recent meta-analyses strongly suggest that depression is a risk factor for total and cardiovascular mortality, both in the general population and in patients with known heart disease. By contrast, the association between depression and sudden death or cardiac arrest has received little attention. This issue has been investigated in three recent studies; two were carried out in the general population and showed depression to be a independent risk factor for sudden death. The other study was carried out in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI); the adjusted relative risk (RR) of sudden death was significantly increased in depressed patients but, after adjustment for dyspnea/fatigue (a common symptom for heart disease and depression), the RR was no longer statistically significant. However, when the cognitive-affective depressive symptoms were examined separately from the somatic ones (dyspnea/fatigue, etc.), there was a clear trend for an association between cognitive-affective symptoms and sudden death. Because a risk factor can be defined as 'independent' only in a multivariate analysis in which variables are dichotomized, the presence of common symptoms between heart disease and depression represents a very difficult problem. However, taken together, the results of studies carried out in the general population and in patients with AMI strongly suggest that depression is a significant risk factor for sudden death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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