Emory Report
November 24, 2008
Volume 61, Number 13



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November 24
, 2008
Depression raises risk for post-MI death

By Juliette Merchant

African American patients who are hospitalized for a heart attack and who have previously treated depression that persists at hospitalization have an increased risk of post-heart attack death, according to Emory cardiologist Susmita Parashar. Parashar recently presented her research at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions conference in New Orleans.

“Our study shows that prior depression that persists at the time of MI [myocardial infarction] may indicate a more severe, enduring or recurrent depression,” says Parashar. “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.”

Using the Patient Health Questionnaire as part of a prospective myocardial infarction registry, Parashar and her team measured depressive symptoms in 397 African American MI patients at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Patients were assessed and categorized as past, new, persistent or never depressed. Patients were followed up for a maximum of 58 months after MI. Researchers examined the relative prognostic importance of current, past versus persistent depression on mortality among African Americans with acute MI adjusting for demographic, clinical and quality of care variables.

Preliminary results show patients with persistent depression were almost three times as likely to die after MI compared with never depressed patients.