By On March 11th, 2009

Women with symptoms of depression are at a greater risk for a fatal cardiac event…

According to findings from a study recently reported online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, women with symptoms of depression are at a greater risk for a fatal cardiac event. Obviously, women diagnosed with clinical depression are also at greater risk. William Whang, M.D., of Columbia University  Medical Center, commenting on the findings, stated “…the key message is that women need to be aware of the relationship between depression and coronary heart disease so they can manage their risk.” Previous studies have found that there may in fact be an association between coronary heart disease and depression; however, no study has provided a large prospective assessment of depression and fatal cardiac events. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that discusses the study’s findings in more detail:

So they assessed 63,469 women evaluated in the Nurses’ Health Study who didn’t have coronary heart disease at baseline.

Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Mental Health Index (MHI-5) via questionnaires in 1992, 1996, and 2000, while antidepressant use was analyzed in 1996 and 2000. Endpoints included sudden coronary death, fatal coronary heart disease, and nonfatal myocardial infarction.

The researchers found that depressive symptoms were associated with coronary heart disease events, and were most strongly correlated to fatal events (HR 1.49, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.00).

For clinically diagnosed depression, there was a strong association with sudden cardiac death (HR 2.23, 95% CI 1.47 to 3.70), which seemed to result primarily from an elevated risk among women who used antidepressants (HR 3.34, 95% CI 2.03 to 5.50).

The researchers cautioned, however, that their study could not prove causality.

“By no means are we suggesting that women should stop taking their antidepressant medication,” Dr. Whang said. “Most likely, what we found represents that women who take antidepressants are more depressed, and that depression is not captured by assessment of their symptoms.”

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medpage Today

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