Background: depression is common in elderly people and may be associated with increased cardiovascular risk and incident dementia.
Method: participants in the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET) completed a depression screening instrument, the Geriatric Depression Score (GDS), at baseline and annually. We examined the association of GDS score with incident stroke, mortality and dementia using Cox proportional hazards models (hazard ratios, HR and 95% confidence intervals, CI) adjusted for treatment group and other potential confounders.
Results: 2,656 HYVET participants completed the GDS. The mean follow-up was 2.1 years. A GDS score > or =6 was associated with increased risks of all-cause (HR 1.8, 95% CI 1.4-2.3) and cardiovascular mortality (HR 2.10, 95% CI 1.5-3.0), all stroke (HR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2-2.8) and all cardiovascular events (HR 1.6, 95% CI 1.2-2.1). Risk of incident dementia also tended to be increased (HR 1.28, 95% CI 0.95-1.73). Each additional GDS point at baseline also gave rise to a significantly increased risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events, all-cause mortality and dementia.
Conclusion: there was a strong association between baseline depression scores and later fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular endpoints over a mean follow-up of 2 years in a hypertensive very elderly group. The mechanism of this association warrants further study.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00122811.