Background: A considerable proportion of patients suffer from depression following acute myocardial infarction. Information regarding this prevalence in Indian patients and response to treatment is lacking.
Method: Prevalence of major depression was studied in 50 consecutive in-patients with acute myocardial infarction following DSM-IV criteria. In a comparative study outcome of treatment with sertraline in terms of recovery from depression, change in Hamilton Depression Rating scale score and occurrence of cardiac events were ascertained for a 6-month period, which were compared with a group of patients who did not receive sertraline.
Results: Major depression was diagnosed in 34% of patients. Female patients were more affected than the males. Hamilton Depression Rating scale scores gradually decreased in both the groups over the study period; however it became significantly less for patients treated with sertraline. Significantly more number of patients who received sertraline recovered from depression. There were no dropouts due to non-response or side effects. Cardiac events were reported less in this group than those who continued only cardiac treatment as usual.
Conclusion: A considerable proportion of acute myocardial infarction patients have major depression. Sertraline is efficacious and safe in these patients. Antidepressant treatment might be associated with reduction of cardiac events.