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Objective: To determine the relation between depression, anxiety, and use of antidepressants and the onset of ischaemic heart disease. Design: Population based case-control study. Setting: All 5623 patients registered with one general practice. Subjects: 188 male cases with ischaemic heart disease matched by age to 485 male controls without ischaemic heart disease; 139 female cases with ischaemic heart disease matched by age to 412 female controls. Main outcome measure: Adjusted odds ratios calculated by conditional logistic regression. Results: The risk of ischaemic heart disease was three times higher among men with a recorded diagnosis of depression than among controls of the same age (odds ratio 3.09; 95% confidence interval 1.33 to 7.21; P = 0.009). This association persisted when smoking status, diabetes, hypertension, and underprivileged area (UPA(8)) score were included in a multivariate model (adjusted 2.75; 1.13 to 6.69; P = 0.03). Men with depression within the preceding 10 years were three times more likely to develop ischaemic heart disease than were the controls (3.13; 1.27 to 7.70; P = 0.01). Men with ischaemic heart disease had a higher risk of subsequent ischaemic heart disease than men without ischaemic heart disease (adjusted 2.34; 1.34 to 4.10; P = 0.003). Depression was not a risk factor for ischaemic heart disease in women on multivariate analysis (adjusted 1.34; 0.70 to 2.56; P = 0.35). Anxiety and subsequent ischaemic heart disease were not significantly associated in men or women. Conclusion: Depression may be an independent risk factor for ischaemic heart disease in men, but not in women.


Journal article


British Medical Journal

Publication Date





1714 - 1719