Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Depression Could Be Bad for Heart Attack Patients!

As defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary, depression is a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.

It is unavoidable that people would occasionally suffer certain degree of depression no matter how optimistic they are. Nevertheless, persistent depression could be bad for the body even for healthy persons, not to mention those already have heart disease.

In fact, Canadian researchers from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec found that persistent depression would mean worse physical health a year after heart attack or acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

In an attempt to investigate whether symptoms of depression during and after hospitalization for ACS would affect the health status, they studied 425 patients using Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).

BDI, which was created by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in 1961, was revised in 1978 as the BDI-1A, and subsequently published in 1996 as BDI-II. Being a 21-question multiple-choice self-report inventory, it is regarded as one of the most widely used instruments for measuring the severity of depression.

Based on a Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score of 10 or higher, 123 patients (28.9 percent) had at least mild symptoms of depression during their stay in the hospital and 102 patients (24 percent) had at least mild symptoms of depression a year later.

For patients with signs of depression in the hospital, significantly poorer physical health status 12 months after ACS had been predicted, as compared with patients who had a Beck Depression Inventory score below 10.

Persistent symptoms of depression significantly predicted worse physical health at 12 months after ACS compared with physical health before ACS. However, new depressive symptoms showed only a non-significant trend to predict worse physical health.

Meanwhile, the study also showed that patients with fleeting symptoms of depression did not have a higher risk of poor physical health outcomes 12 months after ACS.

Based on their findings, researchers urge doctors to assess symptoms of depression, not only at the time of the acute ACS hospitalization, but also during the subsequent follow-up visits.

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