Depression after stroke and myocardial infarction (MI) is common but often assumed to be undertreated without reliable evidence being available. Thus, we aimed to determine treatment rates and investigate the application of guidelines in these conditions.
Databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycInfo, Web of Science, CINAHL, and Scopus were systematically searched without language restriction from inception to June 30, 2017. Prospective observational studies with consecutive recruitment reporting any antidepressant treatment in adults with depression after stroke or MI were included. Random-effects models were used to calculate pooled estimates of treatment rates.
Fifty-five studies reported 32 stroke cohorts (n = 8938; pooled frequency of depression = 34%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 29%–38%) and 17 MI cohorts (n = 10,767; pooled frequency of depression = 24%, 95% CI = 20%–28%). In 29 stroke cohorts, 24% (95% CI = 20%–27%) of 2280 depressed people used antidepressant medication. In 15 MI cohorts, 14% (95% CI = 8%–19%) of 2381 depressed people used antidepressant medication indicating a lower treatment rate than in stroke. Two studies reported use of psychosocial interventions, indicating that less than 10% of participants were treated.
Despite the high frequency of depression after stroke and MI and the existence of efficacious treatment strategies, people often remain untreated. Innovative strategies are needed to increase the use of effective antidepressive interventions in patients with cardiovascular disease.