Representative Image
Representative Image

Depressed people may have poor blood flow

ANI | Updated: Nov 20, 2018 13:16 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 20 (ANI): According to a recent study, depressed people have an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow.
Researchers at Aarhus University also found that medication was not responsible for the high frequency of atrial fibrillation in depressed people. The findings are published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
"It is common knowledge that there is a connection between the mind and the heart. Depression predicts the development of coronary artery disease and worsens its prognosis. Our study investigated whether depression is also linked with atrial fibrillation," said study's author Morten Fenger-Grøn.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). It causes 20-30 per cent of all strokes and increases the risk of dying prematurely. It is estimated that by 2030 there will be 14-17 million patients with atrial fibrillation in the European Union, with 120,000-215,000 new diagnoses each year.
Signs of atrial fibrillation include palpitations, shortness of breath, tiredness, chest pain and dizziness.
Previous studies have found that associations between depression and both, more severe symptoms and higher mortality in atrial fibrillation patients. Antidepressants have been linked with some serious, but rare, heart rhythm disturbances, prompting the question of whether they might also raise the risk of atrial fibrillation.
This study investigated the association of depression, and antidepressant treatment, with the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Filling a prescription for antidepressants for the first time was used as an indicator of depression.
The study included 785,254 people initiating antidepressant treatment from 2000 to 2013. The risk of atrial fibrillation was assessed after starting treatment and in the month before, when it was assumed that patients were depressed but medically untreated.
Compared with the general population, patients taking antidepressants had a 3.18-fold higher risk of atrial fibrillation during the first month of treatment. The association gradually reduced thereafter, to 1.37-fold at 2-6 months, and 1.11-fold at 6-12 months.
The risk of atrial fibrillation risk was even higher in the month before starting antidepressants (7.65-fold). "This suggests that antidepressant medication itself is not associated with the development of atrial fibrillation," said Mr Fenger-Grøn. "If you are depressed, there is no reason to worry that taking drug treatment will cause atrial fibrillation." (ANI)