Depression lingers for female heart attack victims

July 13, 2007

depressed woman.thumbnail Depression lingers  for female heart attack victims

© iStockphoto

A recent study from the  University of Alberta and McGill University  shows that women who have suffered heart attacks have higher rates of lingering symtoms of depression compared to their male  counterparts.

The findings are a concern because depression and heart failure  can increase mortality, hospitalization, health care costs, decrease functional capacity and further affect quality of life   The researchers suggest that women may either have a different response to the treatment following a heart attack, or they construe the experience differently. Past research demonstrates that women use different coping strategies than men.

The study also noted, that the evidence suggested that women were less likely to be referred to, or attended cardiac rehabilitation and therefore they do not have access to the support and assistance in making the lifestyle changes that are necessary for recovery after a heart attack.

Depression is more common in women than men, this study recomends women should be routinely screened for depression as part of a general  health assessment when being admitted to hospital following heart-related events.

Results of the study, which was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and GENESIS, an Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Teams grant program supported by the CIHR and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation were published recently in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.

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