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Tuesday, 25 April, 2000, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Depression 'increases heart risk'
Heart attack patient
A good mental state is important to recovery
Heart patients with chronic depression are three times more likely to suffer a second heart attack within a year of their first one, according to research.

It is common for patients to suffer short-term depression after a heart attack, and this appears to have no effect on the likelihood of a recurrance.

However, if the depression lingers - and there is no support from family, friends or mental health professionals - then the risk of a second attack increases.

The research, published in the journal Circulation, found that about a third of heart attack victims suffer long-term depression.

The researchers, led by Dr Nancy Frasure-Smith, of the Montreal Heart Institute, surveyed 887 people who had suffered heart attacks.

Of those who reported lingering depression, 7.5% died of heart disease within a year.

This compared with just 2.5% of those who only suffered short-term depression.

Sarah Knox, of the National Institutes of Health, said the findings were further proof that the psychological health of heart patients is just as important as their physical health.

In a study released in August, Carnegie Mellon University researchers found that patients with lower measures of self-esteem, optimism and feelings of control were more likely to experience a second blockage within six months than those with better attitudes.

The 300 subjects in the Carnegie Mellon study had undergone an angioplasty, in which a balloon is used to clear a blockage in a blood vessel.

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