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, 32 (9), 1017-28

Depression and Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Review and Reinterpretation


Depression and Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Review and Reinterpretation

R Fielding. Soc Sci Med.


Depression is widely accepted as occurring in response to acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and to be an important determinant of recovery. A review of the literature reveals that three categories of patients with depressive symptomatology may be identifiable. First, many patients show depressive symptoms before admission with AMI; these may intensify during hospitalisation. For these patients, the depressive symptoms may contribute etiologically to the onset of AMI or derive from a common source along with AMI. The second group constitute patients with a history of AMI, and who on readmission with chest pain or suspected AMI are more likely to report depressive symptoms. The third group of patients are non-depressed first time admissions for AMI. These patients appear to show transient depressive reactions, much of which it is argued, occurs as a reaction to hospitalisation and not to AMI per se. This review considers the theoretical context whereby depressive symptoms may arise from the same circumstances that generate the coronary heart disease which underlies AMI, and links this to the generation of helplessness and cardiopathic processes.

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