Depressed African-Americans at Greater Risk of Death Following MI

November 16, 2008

African-American patients hospitalized for myocardial infarction (MI) with a history of depression who are considered depressed at the time of the MI are at an increased risk for death afterward, new research has found.

African-American patients hospitalized for myocardial infarction (MI) with a history of depression who are considered depressed at the time of the MI are at an increased risk for death afterward, new research has found (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11?eu-aaw103108.php).

Results show that patients classified as persistently depressed were nearly three times as likely to die after MI as those who had never been depressed.

Susmita Parashar, MD, MPH, a member of the cardiology division at Emory University in Atlanta, and her team assessed 397 patients at Grady Memorial Hospital in metro Atlanta. A Patient Health Questionnaire was used in part for the MI patient registry used in the study.

Participants were classified as past, new, persistently, or never depressed and followed up on for no longer than 58 months after the MI. The study adjusted for demographics and clinical and quality-of-care variables.

“Our study shows that prior depression that persists at the time of MI may indicate a more severe, enduring or recurrent depression,” Parashar said. “Thus, it is important to screen and identify persistent depressive symptoms at the time of hospitalization for MI because targeting of interventions regarding persistent depression may improve outcomes.”