Frequency and Clinical Determinants of Poststroke Depression

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Background and Purpose

Previous studies have shown a large variation concerning the frequency of poststroke depression. This variation is caused by differences in patient populations, psychiatric assessment methods, and diagnostic criteria. In this study, we evaluated the frequency and clinical correlates of poststroke depression in a large well-defined stroke cohort.


We studied a consecutive series of 486 patients with ischemic stroke aged from 55 to 85 years. Of these, 277 patients underwent a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, including the Present State Examination, from 3 to 4 months after ischemic stroke. The criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, edition 3, revised (DSM-III-R), were used for the diagnosis of depressive disorders.


The frequency of any depressive disorder was 40.1% (n=111). Major depression was diagnosed in 26.0% (n=72) and minor depression in 14.1% (n=39). Major depression with no other explanatory factor besides stroke was diagnosed in 18.0% (n=49) of the patients. Comparing depressed and nondepressed patients, we found no statistically significant difference in sex, age, education, stroke type, stroke localization, stroke syndrome, history of previous cerebrovascular disease, or frequency of DSM-III-R dementia. According to the multiple logistic regression model, dependency in daily life correlated with the diagnosis of depression (odds ratio [OR], 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 3.1) and with the diagnosis of major depression (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.6 to 5.5). A history of previous depressive episodes also correlated with the diagnosis of depression (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3 to 4.4) and with the diagnosis of major depression (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.6 to 5.5), whereas solely stroke-related major depression correlated only weakly with stroke severity as measured on the Scandinavian Stroke Scale (OR, 1.1; 95% CI, 1.0 to 1.1).


Clinically significant depression is frequent after ischemic stroke. We emphasize the importance of the psychiatric examination of poststroke patients, especially those with a significant disability and with a history of prior depressive episodes. (Stroke. 1998;29:2311-2317.)

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