Depression in older people with mild stroke, carotid stenosis and peripheral vascular disease: A comparison with healthy controls

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Background. Although depression has a recognised association with stroke, the role of 'silent' cerebrovascular pathology associated with carotid stenosis and peripheral vascular disease remains unexplored. Methods. Four groups of 25 community residents aged 65 and over were recruited, comprising first anterior circulation stroke, carotid stenosis accompanied by transient ischaemic attack, peripheral vascular disease and a nonvascular control group. All participants were interviewed using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression [HRSD] (including a modified version) and Geriatric Depression Scale. DSM IV criteria for major depression and measures of handicap, social support and physical illness were also administered. Head computerised tomography (CT) scans were performed on stroke patients to examine the relationship between lesion location and depression. Results. One hundred patients were interviewed. Stroke patients were more likely to live in a nursing home and had less social support than other groups. Mean scores on the modified Hamilton and Geriatric Depression Scales were higher in stroke and carotid stenosis groups than controls. Patients with stroke did not show a higher prevalence of DSM IV major depressive disorder than those with carotid stenosis. There was no relationship between the presence of lesions affecting the frontal/subcortical system and prevalence/severity of depression. Limitations. Small numbers, mortality of stroke patients in hospital, possible selection bias in the control group and use of a previously unvalidated depression rating scale all limit the study. Conclusions. A possible role for carotid stenosis in the pathogenesis of depressive disorder is suggested. Larger studies incorporating brain imaging may be required to examine the mechanism of this association more closely. The use of a shorter version of the HRSD in older people with cerebrovascular disease may warrant further exploration. Copyright (C) 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175 - 183
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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