Presence of depression and anxiety before and after coronary artery bypass graft surgery and their relationship to age

Krannich, Jens-Holger A.; Weyers, Peter; Lueger, Stefan; Herzog, Michael; Bohrer, Thomas; Elert, Olaf
January 2007
BMC Psychiatry;2007, Vol. 7, p47
Academic Journal
Background: Scientific literature on depression and anxiety in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) consistently reports data of elevated anxiety and depression scores indicating clinically relevant quantities of these psychopathological conditions. Depression is considered to be a risk factor for the development of CHD and deteriorates the outcome after cardiac rehabilitation efforts. The aim of our study was to evaluate the presence of clinically relevant anxiety and depression in patients before and after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Additionally we evaluated their relationship to age because of the increasing number of elderly patients undergoing CABG surgery. Methods: One hundred and forty-two consecutive patients who underwent CABG in our hospital were asked to fill in the "Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale -- German Version (HADS)" to measure depression and anxiety scores two days before and ten days after CABG surgery. Differences between these pre- and post-surgical scores were then calculated as means for changes, and the amount of elevated scores were appraised. In order to investigate the relationship between age and anxiety and depression, respectively, Spearman correlations between age and the difference scores were calculated. In addition, ANOVA procedures with the factor "age group" and McNemar tests were calculated. Therefore the sample was divided into four equally sized age groups. Results: 25.8% of the patients were clinically depressed before and 17.5% after surgery; 34.0% of the patients were clinically anxious before and 24.7% after surgery. This overall change is not significant. We found a significant negative correlation between age and the difference between the two time points for anxiety (Spearman rho = -.218; p = 0.03), but not for depression (Spearman rho = -.128; p = 0.21). ANOVA and McNemar-Tests revealed that anxiety scores and the number of patients high in anxiety declined statistically meaningful only in the youngest patient group. Such a relationship could not be found for depression. Conclusion: Our data show a relationship between age and anxiety. Younger patients are more anxious before CABG surgery than older ones and show a decline in symptoms while elderly patients show hardly any change.


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