The objective of this study was to investigate the significance of emotional distress immediately after a myocardial infarction as a predictor of physical, psychological, and social outcomes and resource use.
In an epidemiological survey, demographic and cardiological data were obtained for all patients from a defined geographical area who had had a myocardial infarction (according to diagnostic criteria of the Monitoring Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease [MONICA] trial). Hospital survivors were interviewed and were asked to complete self-report assessments on mental state and quality of life. Full replies were available at baseline for 347 subjects. Self-report follow-up questionnaire information was collected 3 months and 1 year later.
Fifteen percent of patients scored as probable cases of anxiety or depression. They were more likely than noncases to report preinfarct distress and poor adjustment (as indicated on the 36-item Medical Outcome Study short form). There was an improvement at 3 months, but there was little overall or individual change after that time. Anxiety and depression did not predict subsequent mortality but did significantly predict poor outcome at 1 year on all dimensions of the 36-item short form quality-of-life measure and on specific measures of everyday activity and reports of chest pain, use of primary care resources, and secondary prevention lifestyle changes.
Subjects who are distressed in the hospital are at high risk of adverse psychological and quality-of-life outcomes during the ensuing year. Our findings strengthen the argument for in-hospital identification and treatment of patients with depression and anxiety after myocardial infarction.
From the Department of Psychiatry (R.A.M., D.G., A.D.), University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford; Department of Health Studies (D.R.T.), University of York, Heslington, York; Division of Public Health and Primary Care (A.N., J.U.), Institute of Health Sciences, Oxford; and Department of Public Health and Health Policy (N.H.), Oxfordshire Health Authority, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Received for publication April 7, 1999;
revision received September 20, 1999.
Address reprint requests to: Professor R. A. Mayou, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, United Kingdom. Email: email@example.com