Depression, Stress a Lethal Combination for Heart Patients

Patients with coronary heart disease who are are also experiencing both depression and stress have an increased risk of an adverse event, according to new research published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. The research expands on earlier findings that identified stress and depression as independent risk factors.

The study included 4,487 adults who were tracked for an average of about six years. Participants self-reported symptoms of depression and stress, with about six percent reporting both conditions.

For the first two and a half years of follow-up, those patients with concurrent stress and depression were nearly 50 percent more likely to die or have a heart attack than their counterparts with low levels of stress and depression.

Referring to the combination of conditions as a “psychosocial perfect storm,” the authors support  stress and depression interventions for heart patients to curb its potentially destructive impact.