Part I: frequency of depression after stroke: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

Int J Stroke. 2014 Dec;9(8):1017-25. doi: 10.1111/ijs.12357. Epub 2014 Aug 12.


Background: Approximately 15 million people who suffer a stroke globally each year are at risk of developing depression.

Aim: To update our systematic review and meta-analysis of the frequency of depression after stroke published in 2005, including studies published before July 2004.

Methods: We included all published observational studies (to 31 May 2013) with prospective consecutive recruitment and quantification of the proportion of people with depression after stroke. We included studies of adult (>18 years) patients with a clinical diagnosis of stroke, where an assessment of depression or depressive symptom burden was performed at a pre-specified time-point for all study participants.

Results: Data were available from 61 studies including 25,488 people. The proportional frequency of depression varied considerably across studies; however, the pooled frequency estimate of 31% (95% confidence interval 28% to 35%) was not significantly different from the 33% (difference of 2%, 95% confidence interval <1% to 3%) reported in the 2005 review. The proportion with depression between one and five-years (25%; 95% confidence interval 16 to 33%) and at five years after stroke (23%; 95% confidence interval 14 to 31%) was significantly lower.

Conclusion: Despite systematic review evidence describing validated depression screening tools and effective treatment and prevention strategies for depression after stroke, there has not been a significant reduction in the proportion of people experiencing depression after stroke. There is a pressing need for increased clinical uptake of evidenced-based strategies to screen for, prevent, and treat depression after stroke.

Keywords: depression; frequency; meta-analysis; stroke; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Observation
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / epidemiology*