(HealthDay News) — For patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), a depression diagnosis is associated with increased risk of mortality, according to a study published online in the European Heart Journal: Quality of Care & Clinical Outcomes.

Heidi T. May, PhD, MSPH, from the Intermountain Heart Institute in Murray, Utah, and colleagues examined the correlation of a subsequent depression diagnosis with all-cause mortality among 24,137 patients with angiographically determined CAD (stenosis ≥70%).

The researchers found that 15% of patients had a depression diagnosis during follow-up. These patients were significantly younger, more often female, diagnosed with diabetes, previously diagnosed with depression, and less likely to present with a myocardial infarction (MI) compared to those without depression. During a mean follow-up of 9.7 years, 40% of patients died (50% among those with depression vs 38% among those without depression; P <.0001). The strongest predictor of death was post-CAD depression, after adjustment (hazard ratio, 2.00; P <.0001). The correlation persisted among those with no prior diagnosis of depression (hazard ratio, 2.00; P <.0001), and by angiography indication (stable angina, unstable angina, and MI: hazard ratios, 1.84, 2.25, and 2.09, respectively; all P <.0001).

“A depression diagnosis at any time following CAD diagnosis was associated with a two-fold higher risk of death,” the authors write.

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