History of depression and survival after acute myocardial infarction

Robert M. Carney, Kenneth E. Freedland, Brian Steinmeyer, James A. Blumenthal, Peter De Jonge, Karina W. Davidson, Susan M. Czajkowski, Allan S. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: To compare survival in post-myocardial (MI) participants from the Enhancing Recovery In Coronary Heart Disease (ENRICHD) clinical trial with a first episode of major depression (MD) and those with recurrent MD, which is a risk factor for mortality after acute MI. Recent reports suggest that the level of risk may depend on whether the comorbid MD is a first or a recurrent episode. METHODS:: Survival was compared over a median of 29 months in 370 patients with an initial episode of MD, 550 with recurrent MD, and 408 who were free of depression. RESULTS:: After adjusting for an all-cause mortality risk score, initial Beck Depression Inventory score, and the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, patients with a first episode of MD had poorer survival (18.4% all-cause mortality) than those with recurrent MD (11.8%) (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.4; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.0-2.0; p = .05). Both first depression (HR = 3.1; 95% CI = 1.6-6.1; p = .001) and recurrent MD (HR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.1-4.4; p = .03) had significantly poorer survival than did the nondepressed patients (3.4%). A secondary analysis of deaths classified as probably due to a cardiovascular cause resulted in similar HRs, but the difference between depression groups was not significant. CONCLUSIONS:: Both initial and recurrent episodes of MD predict shorter survival after acute MI, but initial MD episodes are more strongly predictive than recurrent episodes. Exploratory analyses suggest that this cannot be explained by more severe heart disease at index, poorer response to depression treatment, or a higher risk of cerebrovascular disease in patients with initial MD episodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-259
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Depression
  • Depression history
  • Mortality.


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