Is depression a risk factor for heart complaints? : Longitudinal aspects in the Zurich study

Eich, Dominique ; Neuhaus, Christoph ; Gamma, Alex ; Angst, Jules ; Rössler, Wulf ; Ajdacic-Gross, Vladeta ; Opravil, Milos

In: European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 2007, vol. 257, no. 7, p. 396-401

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    Background: The objective of this longitudinal study was to assess the association between major depression and heart complaints in a population of young and healthy adults. Methods: Starting at the age 20/21, participants of the Zurich Study underwent 6 structured, psychological interviews during a span of 20years. We evaluated longitudinal data from 277 persons who participated in all 6 interviews including questions about heart complaints. Results: Over 20years, heart complaints were reported by two thirds of participants, and the frequency of depression was 11.4%. At the age of 40/41, heart complaints were significantly associated with earlier heart complaints and major depression, both more often in women. Recurrent brief depression showed a tendency, but neither minor depression nor depressive symptoms were predictive for later heart complaints. Conclusions: This study suggests that major depression is a predictor for heart complaints at the age of 40 and that the severity of depressive disorder in younger age has an effect on subsequent heart complaints. Follow-up data will help to elucidate whether these subjective heart complaints show any correlation with a later coronary heart disease