Objective: Although many investigators have studied mood disorders following myocardial infarction, the prevalence, severity, and persistence of depression have been disputed, and standard rating scales and criteria for depressive disorders have infrequently been utilized. The authors' goal was to determine how frequently depressive disorders occur after myocardial infarction, and to investigate predisposing factors for such disorders.
Method: Structured clinical interviews were administered to 129 inpatients within ten days of myocardial infarction. Patients were also evaluated using standardized rating scales for depression, social function, cognition, and physical impairment. DSM-III diagnoses were derived from the structured interview.
Results: Major depressive syndromes were present in 19 percent (n = 25) of the patients and were associated with prior history of mood disorder, female sex, large infarcts, and functional physical impairment.
Conclusion: Major depression is common in the acute post-myocardial infarction period. Such disorders confer significant psychiatric morbidity and, if sustained, require psychiatric intervention.