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Depression and Heart Bypass Surgery

Frame of mind can signal later health problems

FRIDAY, Nov. 1, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- People who suffer from depression a month after they've had coronary artery bypass surgery are more likely to have angina and other cardiac problems five years later.

Interestingly, this is particularly true of men, according to a new study in the November-December issue of the journal Psychosomatics.

The study included 172 people. They were given questionnaires that assessed their level of depression before they had coronary artery bypass grafting. They were interviewed again at one month, one year, and five years after their surgery.

At the end of the five years, the researchers were able to analyze data for 117 of the original 172 people.

They found that 32 percent of the people were depressed before they had surgery, 28 percent were depressed a month after surgery, 21 percent were depressed a year after surgery, and 16 percent were depressed five years after surgery.

However, the researchers say that men who suffered from depression a month after the surgery were more likely than women to suffer chest pain five years later. The study found that five years after surgery, both depressed and non-depressed women had about the same, relatively high, level of chest pain.

The researchers say their findings suggest a way to improve long-term results for people who have coronary artery bypass surgery. These patients could be evaluated for depression a month after their surgery and given treatment if they are suffering from depression.

More information

Columbia University has a Web site for people who have undergone heart surgery.

SOURCE: Health Behavior, news release, Oct. 30, 2002
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