Healthcare Contacts after Myocardial Infarction According to Mental Health and Socioeconomic Position: A Population-Based Cohort Study

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 30;10(7):e0134557. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134557. eCollection 2015.


Objective: To examine the long-term use of healthcare contacts to general practice (GP) and hospital after a first-time myocardial infarction (MI) according to mental health and socioeconomic position.

Methods: Population-based cohort study of all patients discharged with first-time MI in the Central Denmark Region in 2009 (n=908) using questionnaires and nationwide registers. We estimated adjusted incidence rates and incidence rate ratios (IRR) for GP and hospital contacts according to depressive and anxiety symptoms, educational level and cohabitation status.

Results: During the 24-month period after the MI, patients with anxiety symptoms had 24% more GP contacts (adjusted IRR 1.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12-1.36) than patients with no anxiety symptoms. In contrast, patients with depressive symptoms (1.05, 0.94-1.16) and with short and medium education (<10 years: 0.96, 0.84-1.08; 10-12 years: 0.91, 0.80-1.03) and patients living alone (0.95, 0.87-1.04) had the same number of GP contacts as their counterparts (patients with no depressive symptoms, with long education [>12 years] and patients living with a partner). During the first 6 months after the MI, patients living alone had 13% fewer hospital contacts (0.87, 0.77-0.99), patients with short education had 16% fewer hospital contacts (<10 years: 0.84, 0.72-0.98) and patients with anxiety symptoms had 27% fewer hospital contacts (0.73, 0.62-0.86) than their counterparts. In contrast, patients with depressive symptoms (0.92, 0.77-1.10) and medium education (10-12 years: 1.05, 0.91-1.22) had the same number of hospital contacts as their counterparts.

Conclusions: This study indicates that patients with depressive symptoms, short and medium education and patients living alone have a lower long-term use of healthcare contacts following MI than patients without these risk factors. Patients with depressive symptoms and low socioeconomic position would be expected to have a higher need of healthcare after MI as they have a poorer prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark
  • Depression*
  • Female
  • General Practice
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Social Class*

Grant support

This study has been supported by an unrestricted grant from the Lundbeck Foundation (grant number: R155-2012-11280). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.