Depression Hurts Heart Bypass Recovery

Men in poor mental state before surgery run into more trouble afterwards

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TUESDAY, Feb. 11, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Depressed men are more likely to suffer poor health after they have coronary bypass surgery.

A study led by a researcher at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System found that men who are depressed before they have coronary artery bypass graft surgery are more likely to suffer pain, have reduced quality of life, or be hospitalized again six months after the surgery than men who aren't depressed before the surgery.

The study, in the January/February issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, may help provide answers about why 15 percent of people who have bypass surgery report little to no improvement in their health.

Researchers collected surgical, medical and psychological data on 89 male veterans before they had bypass surgery and six months after the surgery. Of that group, 25 had significant clinical depression before the surgery.

Of those 25 men, six were hospitalized for cardiac reasons after the bypass surgery. Among the 64 men without depression, two were hospitalized for cardiac reasons after their bypass surgery.

The men who were depressed before the bypass surgery were more likely than the other men to be depressed following the surgery, but their symptoms of depression were often unrecognized and untreated, the study says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about coronary bypass surgery.

SOURCE: Health Behavior News Service, news release, Feb. 4, 2003


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