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.
© 2014 World Stroke Organization.