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Inadequate treatment of depression after myocardial infarction


Dr Sinikka Luutonen, Psychiatric Clinic, Turku University Central Hospital, PL 52, 20521 Turku, Finland E-mail:


Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the prevalence of depressive symptoms and the self-reported psychiatric treatment after myocardial infarction.

Method: Depressive symptoms and medication were studied in 85 consecutive acute myocardial infarction patients during 18 months follow-up. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).

Results: The proportion of patients with depressive symptoms (BDI geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted 10) was 21.2% while in hospital, 30.0% at 6 months and 33.9% at 18 months. At 18 months, none of the patients were receiving adequate antidepressive medication. There were eight patients with BDI scores corresponding to moderate/severe depression (BDI geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted 19). Six of these patients were receiving benzodiazepine medication and two of them had been treated in the mental health care system after the myocardial infarction.

Conclusion: There seems to be considerable problems in the diagnosis and/or treatment of depression after myocardial infarction.