Depression Linked to Increased PAD Risk

Peripheral artery disease risk greater among depressed patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Patients suffering from depression may be at an increased risk of developing peripheral artery disease (PAD), a painful condition in which arteries narrow, usually in the legs or pelvis.

Researchers already knew that depression is a factor in developing coronary artery disease, a similar condition that affects arteries supplying blood to the heart.

"Tell your physician if you notice symptoms of depression."

Dr. S Marlene Grenon, an assistant professor in the division of vascular and endovascular surgery at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, initiated the study because the effect of depression on the development of PAD was unknown.

During the study researchers utilized data from the Heart and Soul Study, a prospective cohort of 1,024 men and women with coronary artery disease that were recruited between 2000 and 2002. Patients with PAD reported it to investigators.

That information was verified and adjusted as necessary based on doctor diagnosis, subsequent PAD events, imaging results and need for PAD surgery. They were followed for about seven years.

Participants were also assessed for depression through a validated nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire. A model was used to estimate the independent risk of depression in developing PAD.

At the beginning of the study, 12 percent of patients with depression had PAD compared to 7 percent of patients with PAD that did not suffer from depression. During follow up, 9 percent of participants with depression and 6 percent of those without it experienced PAD-related events.

Investigators attributed some of the association between prevalent PAD and depression to inactivity, diabetes, prevalent PAD symptoms, race, smoking status, and cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Researchers emphasized that the findings show the importance of treatment and screening for depression in PAD patients.

The research was presented today at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2012 Scientific Sessions in Chicago. 

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Review Date: 
April 13, 2012
Last Updated:
April 20, 2012