Washington, Jan 19 : Depression and anxiety can double the risk of repeated heart ailments in coronary artery disease patients, according to a new study.
The study, by researchers at the McGill University and the University of Montreal, found that major depression and comprehensive anxiety disorder were more common in cardiac patients than in the general community.
"We found that both major depression and generalized anxiety disorder were more common in cardiac patients than in the general community," said Nancy Frasure-Smith, lead researcher and professor at McGill's Department of Psychiatry and a researcher at the Centre hospital of University of Montreal (CHUM) and Montreal Heart Institute.
"On average, cardiac patients without these disorders had about a 13 percent chance of a repeated cardiac event over two years, compared to 26 percent of those with either major depression or anxiety," she added.
The team interrogated 804 patients with stable coronary artery disease who were still monitored by a physician, yet had been discharged from hospital.
The findings revealed that 27 percent of the subjects had depression and 41 percent showed signs of anxiety.
Major depressive disorder was diagnosed in roughly 7 percent of patients while about 5 percent had generalized anxiety disorder.
Dr. Frasure-Smith, who co-authored the study with Francois Lesperance, a University of Montreal psychiatry professor and head of the CHUM's Department of Psychiatry, said that it is the first study to demonstrate that anxiety and depression can have a strong impact on people with stable coronary artery disease.
"Now that we know that anxiety and major depression are both markers of increased cardiac risk, it is imperative that these patients receive the best treatment for both their cardiac and psychiatric conditions since both disorders may respond to antidepressants," she said.
The study appears in the January edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry.