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Europace. 2012 Feb;14(2):267-71. doi: 10.1093/europace/eur246. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Women, but not men, have prolonged QT interval if depressed after an acute coronary syndrome.

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Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.



Depression is a mortality risk marker for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients. We hypothesized that the QT interval, a predictor for risk of sudden cardiac death, was related to depressive symptoms in ACS.


We performed an analysis of admission electrocardiograms from hospitalized patients with unstable angina or non-ST elevation myocardial infarction from two prospective observational studies of depression in ACS. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and depression was defined as BDI score ≥10, compared with <5. Patients with QRS duration ≥120 ms and/or who were prescribed antidepressants were excluded. QT intervals were adjusted for heart rate by two methods. Our analyses included 243 men (40.0% with BDI ≥10) and 139 women (62.0% with BDI ≥ 10). Among women, average QT corrected by Fridericia's method (QTcF) was 435.4 ± 26.6 ms in the depressed group, vs. 408.6 ± 24.3 ms in the non-depressed group (P< 0.01). However, among men, average QTcF was not significantly different between the depressed and non-depressed groups (415.4 ± 23.6 vs. 412.0 ± 25.8 ms, P= 0.29). In multivariable analyses that included hypertension, diabetes, ACS type, left ventricular ejection fraction <0.40, and use of QT-prolonging medication, there was a statistically significant interaction between depressive symptoms and gender (P< 0.001).


In this ACS sample, prolongation of the QT interval was associated with depressive symptoms in women, but not in men. Further investigation of the mechanism of the relationship between depression and abnormal cardiac repolarization, particularly in women, is warranted to develop treatment strategies.

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