Depression After Heart Attack Common in Younger Women

Females aged 60 or younger more likely than others to be depressed

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Following a myocardial infarction, relatively young female patients have higher rates of depression than relatively young men, older men or older women, according to a study in the April 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Susmita Mallik, M.D., of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues studied 2,498 patients after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), including 814 women. The patients were enrolled in a registry of AMI subjects from 19 U.S. centers between January 2003 and June 2004. Depression was defined as a score of 10 or higher on a Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders Brief Patient Health Questionnaire.

The researchers found the prevalence of depression highest in women aged 60 or younger. These women were 3.1 times more likely to be depressed than men over 60, and almost twice as likely to be depressed as older women and younger men, with depression prevalence being 40 percent among the younger women, 21 percent among older women and 22 percent among younger men.

"The prevalence of depression is high in younger women with AMI," the authors write. "Because depression after AMI has been associated with adverse outcomes, younger women, a high-risk group compared with men, may particularly benefit from aggressive screening and treatment of post-AMI depression."

The study was supported by a grant from CV Therapeutics in Palo Alto, Calif.

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