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Psychophysiology. 2011 Nov;48(11):1605-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2011.01232.x. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

The effect of major depression on postexercise cardiovascular recovery.

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  • 1Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, Montréal, Québec, Canada Research Centre, Montreal Heart Institute, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) mortality. Dysfunctional autonomic control of the CV system may represent a mechanism explaining this relationship. Poor CV recovery after exercise, indicative of dysfunctional autonomic control of the CV system, predicts CV events and death. This is the first study to examine the association between MDD and postexercise CV recovery. Some 886 patients underwent exercise stress tests. Heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure were measured at rest, peak exercise, 1 min, and 5 min after exercise. Patients with MDD had slower HR recovery (p=.026) 1 min after exercise than non-MDD patients. No other effects of MDD were found. MDD is accompanied by a dysregulation in autonomic control of exercise-related CV recovery, suggesting that depressed individuals have a slow parasympathetic recovery from exercise.

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