Depression and the risk of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

BMC Psychiatry. 2014 Dec 24;14:371. doi: 10.1186/s12888-014-0371-z.


Background: Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses demonstrated the association between depression and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but the previous reviews had some limitations. Moreover, a number of additional studies have been published since the publication of these reviews. We conducted an updated meta-analysis of prospective studies to assess the association between depression and the risk of CHD.

Methods: Relevant prospective studies investigating the association between depression and CHD were retrieved from the PubMed, Embase, Web of Science search (up to April 2014) and from reviewing reference lists of obtained articles. Either a random-effects model or fixed-effects model was used to compute the pooled risk estimates when appropriate.

Results: Thirty prospective cohort studies with 40 independent reports met the inclusion criteria. These groups included 893,850 participants (59,062 CHD cases) during a follow-up duration ranging from 2 to 37 years. The pooled relative risks (RRs) were 1.30 (95% CI, 1.22-1.40) for CHD and 1.30 (95% CI, 1.18-1.44) for myocardial infarction (MI). In the subgroup analysis by follow-up duration, the RR of CHD was 1.36 (95% CI, 1.24-1.49) for less than 15 years follow-up, and 1.09 (95% CI, 0.96-1.23) for equal to or more than 15 years follow-up. Potential publication bias may exist, but correction for this bias using trim-and-fill method did not alter the combined risk estimate substantially.

Conclusions: The results of our meta-analysis suggest that depression is independently associated with a significantly increased risk of CHD and MI, which may have implications for CHD etiological research and psychological medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Publication Bias
  • Risk Factors