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Research demonstrates that depression at the time of a cardiac event predicts early mortality. However, the best time for depression screening is unknown. We investigated the prognostic importance of inhospital and 2-month depressive symptoms in predicting 12-year mortality in female cardiac patients.A consecutive series of 170 women admitted to hospital after acute myocardial infarction or for coronary artery bypass graft surgery completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale inhospital and 2 months later. Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale's depression subscale scores of 4 to 7 were classified as “mild” depressive symptoms and 8+ as “moderate/severe” depressive symptoms. Mortality was tracked through the Australian National Death Index and other sources.One hundred sixty-three (96%) of the 170 women were successfully tracked after 12 years. Of these women, 136 (83%) completed the depression subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale at both assessments and were included in the analyses. Over 12 years, 45 (33%) women died. Using logistic regression and controlling for age, disease severity, and diabetes, mild inhospital depression predicted mortality (P = .02), whereas moderate/severe inhospital depression did not (P = .14). At 2 months, moderate/severe depression predicted mortality (P = .05), whereas mild depression did not (P = .09). Half the patients (49%) changed depression class by the 2-month assessment. The death rate was highest (64%) in those whose mild inhospital depressive symptoms increased to moderate/severe and lowest (14%) in those whose moderate/severe inhospital symptoms remitted.Mild inhospital depression and moderate/severe 2-month depression were predictive of 12-year deaths. The findings suggest a prognostic benefit in undertaking repeat depression screening 2 months after an acute cardiac event.