Depression After Open Heart Surgery: Influences of Optimism, Sex, and Event-Related Medical Factors

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2021 Mar 1;209(3):212-217. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001285.


Postoperative depression is a multifaceted condition that can limit quality of life and potentially decrease the survival benefits of open heart surgery (OHS). We postulated that sex, pre-event character strengths, medical, and certain surgery indicators would predict post-event/myocardial infarction depression. To identify predictors, we collected three-wave survey data from 481 OHS patients at a large academic referral institution (age, 62+; female, 42%) and included key medical and surgical information. The final model (F[7, N = 293] = 28.15, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.408) accounted for over two fifths of the variance in post-OHS depression. Pre-event/OHS optimism mitigated post-OHS depression. Being female, older, living alone, longer surgical perfusion time, absence of left main disease greater than 50%, and pre-OHS depression were associated with the increased likelihood of post-OHS depression. Our findings suggest that teaching optimism to OHS patients might be beneficial in reducing the risk of postoperative depression and that female patients should be monitored more closely for the development of depression through an interdisciplinary approach.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Myocardial Infarction / surgery
  • Optimism / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / adverse effects
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / psychology*