Date: 12 Nov 2004

Increased risk of developing stroke for patients with major affective disorder

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Only a few studies have evaluated depressive disorder as a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease. In a hospital discharge register with nation–wide coverage of all hospitals in Denmark we used linkage between the somatic and psychiatric registries to study comorbidity between affective disorders and cerebrovascular diseases in hospitalised patients.

The main finding of this study was that patients with depression severe enough to be hospitalised, seem to be at an increased risk of developing cerebrovascular disease. The hazard ratio of getting a diagnosis of stroke after initially having been discharged with a diagnosis of depression was found to be 1.22 (95% Confidence Interval: 1.06–1.41). In the group of patients with manic/bipolar disorder no association was found concerning development of stroke.

In elderly with first time depression admitted to hospital, neurological disorders should be carefully evaluated and especially the risk of stroke should be considered.