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PLoS One. 2018 Dec 18;13(12):e0209157. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209157. eCollection 2018.

Does the severity of depressive symptoms after stroke affect long-term survival? An 18-year follow-up.

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Comedicum, Medizinisches Versorgungszentrum, München, Germany.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.
Department of Neurology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.



We tested whether the severity of depressive symptoms in acute stroke and 4 years later are predictors of long-time survival.


We evaluated the severity of stroke in 82 patients with acute stroke by the Barthel index, the Scandinavian Stroke Scale and the Orgogozo scale, and we also quantified the severity of depressive symptoms by the Beck and the Hamilton scales in the first week of stroke, in 1995. We re-evaluated the scales 4 years after stroke in 41 out of 48 survivors. We checked the survival status of the initial cohort 18 years after stroke. In the assessment Kaplan-Meier graphs were constructed and the outcomes between groups were compared with log-rank tests.


Clinically important depressive symptoms (≥10 on the Beck scale) was present in 16 patients (19,5%) with acute stroke one week after admission. Case fatality was 41% at 4 years and 84% at 18 years after stroke. Those patients who survived at 4 years were significantly younger (p<0,05). Depressive symptoms in acute stage were not independent predictor of the length of survival. More severe strokes were associated with more severe depressive symptoms 4 years after stroke. In the survival subgroup of patients, those who had more severe depression (≥10 on the Beck scale) at 4 years, had shorter post-stroke survival than those with milder or no depression (Mann-Whitney test, p = 0.022; log-rank-test, p = 0.047). In multivariate analyses, adjusted for age, sex, stroke severity and the severity of depressive symptoms, age, sex and stroke severity remained the significant predictors of the length of survival.


The severity of depressive symptoms either in the acute phase or 4 years after stroke is not an independent predictor of the length of survival in an 18-year follow-up.

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