Risk factors for positive depression screens in hospitalized cardiac patients

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Background: Depression is common in patients with cardiac illness and is independently associated with elevated morbidity and mortality. There are screening guidelines for depression in cardiac patients, but the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of screening all cardiac patients is controversial. This process may be improved if a subset of cardiac patients at high risk for depression could be identified using information readily available to clinicians and screened. Objective: To identify risk factors for a positive depression screen at the time of admission in hospitalized cardiac patients. Methods: A total of 561 consecutively screened cardiac inpatients underwent the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2). A prospective chart review was performed to assess potential risk factors for depression that would be readily available to front-line clinicians. Rates of risk factors were compared between patients with positive and negative PHQ-2 depression screens, and multivariate logistic regression was performed to assess whether specific risk factors were independently associated with positive screens. Results: Of the 561 patients screened, 13.5% (n=76) had a positive depression screen (PHQ-2≥2). In the univariate analyses, several variables were associated with a positive depression screen. On multivariate analysis, an elevated white blood cell (WBC) count (>10×109 cells per liter) and prescription of an antidepressant on admission were independently associated with a positive depression screen, while current smoking showed a trend toward significance. Conclusion: Information on these three identified risk factors (WBC count, antidepressant use, and smoking) is readily available to clinicians, and patients with these diagnoses may represent a cohort who would benefit from targeted depression screening in certain settings. © 2012 Japanese College of Cardiology.




Caro, M. A., Sowden, G. L., Mastromauro, C. A., Mahnks, S., Beach, S. R., Januzzi, J. L., & Huffman, J. C. (2012). Risk factors for positive depression screens in hospitalized cardiac patients. Journal of Cardiology, 60(1), 72–77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jjcc.2012.01.016

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