Depression accompanying acute myocardial infarction (MI) is not uncommon. Likewise, depression among young women in the community is more prevalent than in men or women of any other age group. In a study published in the April issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr Susmita Malik and colleagues sought to determine whether young women who were hospitalized with acute MI also had higher rates of depression than other groups.
The researchers interviewed 814 women and 1684 men who had demonstrated evidence of acute MI on hospitalization; the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders Brief Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-Brief) was used to determine the rate of depression, and the Seattle Angina Questionnaire was used to assess the patients' health status. The investigators found that, overall, younger patients (aged 60 years or younger) had higher PHQ-Brief scores than older patients, and that of all groups, young women had the highest rate of depression (40%). Young women also were found to have more comorbid conditions than men, including diabetes, obesity, congestive heart failure, and a higher Killip MI classification.
Overall, depression in patients participating in the study went largely untreated. Antidepressants were prescribed for only 18% of the patients on leaving the hospital. The researchers emphasized the importance of identifying patients with acute MI--especially younger women--who are at risk for depression and of following up with them appropriately.