A Troubling Connection Between Depression in Young Adults and Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Events

There exists a concerning upward trend of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (CCE), inpatient mortality, and resource use among young adults with depression, according to a study which appeared in Cureus.

Depression and cardiovascular disease are leading causes for disability worldwide, and there’s a known correlation between the two. As the researchers wrote, “Depression can lead to non-compliance to medications and health-promoting behaviors like exercise and a healthy diet. The relationship of a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise among patients with mental health disorders and possible health consequences are well discussed (in literature).”

The researchers sought to compare trends in CVD prevalence, and in-hospital outcomes in young adults with and without depression. They evaluated baseline demographics, comorbidities, all-cause mortality, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI), arrhythmia, stroke, and venous thromboembolism (VTE) among hospitalized young adults between the ages of 18-39 with vs. without depression from 2007 to 2014.

Overall, they assessed 3,575,275 patients out of 63,020,008 hospitalized young adults had comorbid depression. They noted that the depressed cohort more often comprised of older, white, male, and non-electively admitted patients.

According to the results, the depressed cohort showed higher rates of comorbidities, all-cause mortality, PCI, arrhythmia, VTE, and stroke. They observed rising trend in all-cause mortality was among the depressed against a stable trend in the non-depressed. Moreover, those with depression had extended hospital stay, higher hospitalization charges, and were more often transferred to other facilities or discharged against advice, according to the researchers.

“Concisely, there was a constant rise in in-hospital mortality and cardiovascular events among depressed young adults across the study period,” the researchers wrote in conclusion.

“This could possibly be due to either a direct association of depression or increased comorbid risk factors. This observation further strengthens the need to address mental health issues in young, especially those with cardiovascular risk factors, through a multidisciplinary approach.”