Suicidal ideation is associated with cardiovascular disease in a large, urban cohort of adults in the Southern Cone of Latin America

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Mar-Apr 2019;57:34-40. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2018.12.006. Epub 2018 Dec 18.


Introduction: To examine the relationship between suicidal ideation (SI) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general adult population of four cities in the Southern Cone of Latin America (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile) and the role that depression, stressful life events (SLEs) and physical functional impairment may play in this association.

Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 7524 adults between 35 and 74 years old, randomly selected. History of CVD included acute myocardial infarction, stroke and central or peripheral revascularization. SI in the past two weeks was measured using the last item of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), quality of life was assessed with the 12-item Short Form Survey (SF-12), and having experience of a SLE was determined by asking participants whether they had experienced at least one of a list of events in the past year. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the association between SI and CVD overall and by sex.

Results: The prevalence of SI was 8.3% (95% CI = 7.5, 9.0) and twice as high among women than men (11.1% vs. 5.1%). History of CVD was associated with almost twice the odds of SI (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.5, 2.4). This association remained strong and significant after adjusting for potential confounders (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.2, 2.7). Three additional models were tested to further adjust for depression severity, functional impairment, and SLEs separately. Adjustment for depression severity yielded no association between CVD and SI (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.6, 1.7), adjustment for functional impairment yielded a marginal statistically significant association (OR = 1.5; 95% CI = 1.0, 2.4) and adjustment for SLE didn't modify either the magnitude or the statistical significance of the association.

Conclusions: There is a significant association between SI and CVD, particularly among women, which may be driven, at least in part, by depression and physical functional impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Uruguay / epidemiology