Post-MI psychiatric syndromes: six unanswered questions.
Additional Document Info
Depression, anxiety, and other psychological variables following acute myocardial infarction (MI) have been the subject of intense study over the last two decades. Through selective literature review and editorial commentary, we address six vital, unanswered questions concerning these psychological variables and their impact on coronary outcome. The picture that emerges is complex. Despite all that has been learned about the nature, consequences, and management of post-MI depression and related disorders, there remain many open issues. First, the prevalence, phenomenology, medical impact, and method of diagnosis of post-MI depression and other psychiatric syndromes remain unclear. In addition, at least four pathophysiologic mechanisms have been proposed to explain the link between depression and cardiac disease, but evidence of causation remains elusive. There have been increasingly well-designed treatment studies of post-MI depression, but the optimal agents and timing of treatment have yet to be defined. Finally, few recent studies of post-MI anxiety have been conducted. To make further progress, large, multicenter trials that use optimized screening tools, obtain data at several time points, consider multiple psychosocial variables, and correct carefully for medical/cardiac severity are required.