Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More MH Problems Seen in Heart Attack Victims' Spouses

Heart attacks are bad enough for the patient, and sometimes they can be pretty rough on the patient’s spouse as well, report researchers from Denmark and the U.S., in the European Heart Journal.

They looked at Danish National Health Service records of four groups of spouses (about 77 percent women) for up to a year. Those whose spouse died of a heart attack were prescribed antidepressants and benzodiazepines more often than those whose spouse died of other causes. Those whose spouse had a nonfatal heart attack (compared with those hospitalized for other reasons) had increased risk for using antidepressants and benzodiazepines. Spouses of fatal heart attack patients also had an increased risk of depression and suicide. Husbands whose wives had a fatal or nonfatal heart attack had a relatively higher increased risk of depression than female spouses.

“[O]ur study suggests that clinical attention needs to be paid to both the patient...and the spouse, who has to live through the event alongside the patient,” concluded Emil Fosbol, M.D., Ph.D., of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and Gentofte University Hospital in Denmark.

To read more about the interaction between cardiovascular disease and mental health, see Psychiatric News here.

(Image: Yuri Arcurs/


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