Objective: Whether late-life depression or depressive symptoms are a risk factor of future stroke in elders is important for prevention measures. A systematic review and meta-analysis were used to investigate the association between depression or depressive symptoms and risk of stroke in elders.
Methods: Embase, MEDLINE, PsychINFO and Web of Science were searched for studies published from inception to January 6th 2023. Prospective cohort studies reporting quantitative estimates of the association between depression or depressive symptoms and stroke morbidity in participants aged over 60 years were included. Reviews, meta-analyses, case reports, retrospective, cross-sectional, and theoretical studies were excluded. Study screening and data extraction were conducted by two researchers independently. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to estimate pooled adjusted hazard ratios (HRs). Publication bias was evaluated via the symmetry of funnel plots and Egger tests. The Newcastle Ottawa Scale was used to assess the risk of bias. The quality of evidence of synthesis was assessed by the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). The primary outcome was any stroke, including non-fatal, fatal, ischemic and hemorrhagic sub-types.
Results: Seventeen studies of 57,761 patients in total were included in the meta-analysis. A positive association was found between depressive disorder or symptoms and stroke risk (HR: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.22-1.58; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Late-life depression or depressive symptoms are a significant risk factor for stroke in older people. Regular assessment and more effective management of associated comorbidities are recommended to reduce stroke risk.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Aug 2023


  • Late-life depression
  • stroke
  • elders
  • systematic review
  • meta-analysis

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