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Keywords:

  • depression;
  • fatigue;
  • gender differences;
  • health-related quality of life;
  • myocardial infarction

Aims and objectives

To investigate changes in self-reported fatigue and depression from four months to two years following a myocardial infarction, as well as to explore gender differences, identify the incidence of fatigue without coexisting depression and finally predict health-related quality of life at a two-year follow-up.

Background

Depression and fatigue are associated with decreased health-related quality of life after myocardial infarction. Although there is a close relationship between fatigue and depression, it has been shown that symptoms of fatigue can occur without coexisting depression.

Design

Quantitative and longitudinal design.

Methods

Participants (n = 155) were asked to complete the following questionnaires: the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory-20 (MFI-20) and the Short Form Survey (SF-36) following myocardial infarction (after four months and two years). Descriptive statistics, paired t-tests and multiple regressions were carried out.

Results

In the entire group, self-reported fatigue had decreased from four months to two years after myocardial infarction. After two years, 18% of respondents reported depression together with fatigue and 30% reported fatigued without depression. Women scored higher than men on the fatigue dimensions reduced activity, reduced motivation and mental fatigue. Moreover, the physical dimension of health-related quality of life two years after myocardial infarction was predicted by experienced general fatigue at four months.

Conclusion

Fatigue with or without coexisting possible/probable depression remains as a significant symptom two years after myocardial infarction in nearly half of the entire group.

Relevance to clinical practice

Fatigue is a problem following myocardial infarction. Therefore, systematic screening and early identification of patients experiencing symptoms of depression and fatigue after myocardial infarction are important for suitable care planning. In contemporary coronary care, strategies aimed at relieving fatigue should be developed.