New research indicates that anxiety and depression are risk factors for major adverse cardiac events among patients with stable coronary artery disease.
"We found that both major depression and generalised anxiety disorder were more common in cardiac patients than in the general community. More importantly, both predicted about a doubling in risk for major cardiac events over two years," said lead author Dr. Nancy Frasure-Smith, from the University of Montreal.
As reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry for January, Dr. Frasure-Smith along with Dr. Francois Lesperance, also from the University of Montreal, examined the prognostic significance of depression and anxiety in 804 patients with stable coronary disease who were followed for 2 years.
Overall, 27.4% of patients had an elevated depression test score and 41.4% had an increased anxiety test score. Major depressive disorder was diagnosed in 7.1% of patients while 5.3% had generalised anxiety disorder.
Major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, as well as elevated scores on the depression and anxiety tests were all risk factors with major depressive disorder the strongest factor, increasing the risk by 2.85-fold.
"Now that we know that both generalised anxiety disorder and major depression are markers of increased cardiac risk, it is imperative that these patients receive the best evidence-based treatment for both their cardiac and psychiatric conditions," Dr. Frasure-Smith emphasised.
"Extra efforts are justified in helping them change their cardiac risk factors, assure treatment compliance, and improve their emotional and social functioning."