August 1989

The Nature and Course of Depression Following Myocardial Infarction

Author Affiliations

From the Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, NY. Dr Schleifer is now with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School, Newark. Dr Slater is now with the New York (NY) University School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(8):1785-1789. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390080059014

• Two hundred eighty-three patients admitted to cardiac care units for myocardial infarction at two urban teaching hospitals were interviewed 8 to 10 days after infarction and 171 were reinterviewed 3 to 4 months later. Initially, 45% met diagnostic criteria for minor or major depression, including 18% with major depressive syndromes. Depression was not associated with the severity of cardiac illness but was associated with the presence of noncardiac medical illnesses. Three to 4 months after infarction, 33% of patients met criteria for minor or major depression. The large majority of patients who initially met criteria for major but not minor depression showed evidence of depression at 3 months and most patients with major depression had not returned to work by 3 months. Treatment of major depressive syndromes after myocardial infarction may reduce chronicity and disability, while minor depressive syndromes may be similar to normal grief and tend to be self-limited.

(Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:1785-1789)