Depressive Symptoms at Discharge from Rehabilitation Predict Future Cardiovascular-Related Hospitalizations

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Objectives:Depression is associated with poor prognosis in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). We hypothesized that depressive symptoms at discharge from a cardiac rehabilitation program are associated with an increased risk of future CVD-related hospitalizations.Methods:We examined 486 CVD patients (mean age = 59.8 ± 11.2) who enrolled in a comprehensive 3-month rehabilitation program and completed the depression subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D). At follow-up we evaluated the predictive value of depressive symptoms for CVD-related hospitalizations, controlling for sociodemographic factors, cardiovascular risk factors, and disease severity.Results:During a mean follow-up of 41.5 ± 15.6 months, 63 patients experienced a CVD-related hospitalization. The percentage of depressive patients (HADS-D ≥8) decreased from 16.9% at rehabilitation entry to 10.7% at discharge. Depressive symptoms at discharge from rehabilitation were a significant predictor of outcome (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.09-1.60; p = 0.004). Patients with clinically relevant depressive symptoms at discharge had a 2.5-fold increased relative risk of poor cardiac prognosis compared to patients without clinically relevant depressive symptoms independently of other prognostic variables.Conclusion:In patients with CVD, depressive symptoms at discharge from rehabilitation indicated a poor cardiac prognosis.

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