Depression after minor stroke: prevalence and predictors

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Background and purpose:

Post-stroke depression (PSD) is one of the most frequent complications of stroke, with a prevalence ranging 20–60%. As PSD seems to be related to stroke severity, we hypothesized that the prevalence of PSD would be lower in patients with minor stroke.


We investigated the prevalence and predictors of PSD over a 30-month follow-up period in a cohort of patients with minor ischaemic stroke (NIHSS ≤ 5).


We enrolled 105 patients (mean age 64.38 ± 11.2 years, M/F 69/36). PSD was diagnosed in 43 (41%) patients, 40 (93%) of whom had dysthymia; 22% of patients were already depressed at 1 month. The most frequent depressive symptoms (DSs) were working inhibition, indecisiveness, and fatigability. Patients who developed PSD were less educated (P = 0.044) and diabetic (P = 0.006). After excluding patients that were already depressed at 1 month, we performed a logistic regression model to detect predictors of PSD. Crying (P = 0.012, OR 1.067, CI 0.269–4.553) and guilt (P = 0.007, OR 0.037, CI 0.02ì03–0.401) at baseline were two DSs found to be significantly correlated with PSD. Higher educational level (P = 0.022, OR 0.084, CI 0.010–0.698) and diabetes (P = 0.007, OR 14.361, CI 2.040–101.108) were the risk factors significantly correlated with PSD.


Post-stroke depression is frequent even in patients with minor stroke. Early detection of DSs might help to predict long-term development of PSD. No correlation was observed between lesion site or side and the development of PSD.

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