Severity of Depressive Symptoms Pre- and Postcardiac Rehabilitation: A COMPARISON AMONG PATIENTS IN BRAZIL, CANADA, COLOMBIA, THE UNITED STATES, AND VENEZUELA

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Depression is 3 times more prevalent in the cardiac than the general population in high-income countries and is particularly high in middle-income countries. Comorbid depression is associated with twice the mortality after a cardiovascular event. The objectives of this study were to describe and compare depressive symptoms pre- and postcardiac rehabilitation (CR) among patients in high-income countries and middle-income countries in the Americas.


The study design was prospective and observational. A convenience sample of CR participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) at CR intake and again at program discharge. Clinical data were extracted from medical charts.


There were 779 participants: 45 Brazilian (5.8% of sample), 214 Canadian (27.5%), 126 Colombian (16.2%), 309 American (39.7%), and 85 Venezuelan (10.9%). Pre-CR depressive symptoms significantly differed between countries (P < .05), with Colombian participants reporting higher scores than Canadians and Venezuelans. Total PHQ-9 scores significantly decreased during CR in Colombia (mean change =−2.33; P < .001), the United States (mean change =−1.12; P < .001), and Venezuela (mean change =−2.14; P < .001), but not in Brazil (where less psychosocial intervention was offered) or Canada (where pre-CR scores were low). Among the 102 (13.1%) participants with scores in the elevated range pre-CR, the mean change in PHQ-9 scores was −6.57 ± 1.09 and 40 (39.2%) participants no longer had elevated symptoms postprogram.


Depressive symptoms are variable among patients with CR in South and North American countries. CR programs incorporating psychosocial components can reduce these symptoms.

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