BACKGROUND: Although depression and anxiety have been implicated in risk for major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (MACCE), a theoretical approach to identifying such putative links is lacking. The objective of this study was to examine the association between theoretical conceptualisations of depression and anxiety with MACCE at the diagnostic and symptom dimension level.
METHODS: Before coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, patients (N = 158; 20.9 % female) underwent a structured clinical interview to determine caseness for depression and anxiety disorders. Depression and anxiety disorders were arranged into the distress cluster (major depression, dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder) and fear cluster (panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia). Patients also completed the self-report Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire, measuring anhedonia, anxious arousal and general distress/negative affect symptom dimensions. Incident MACCE was defined as fatal or non-fatal; myocardial infarction, unstable angina pectoris, repeat revascularization, heart failure, sustained arrhythmia, stroke or cerebrovascular accident, left ventricular failure and mortality due to cardiac causes. Time-to-MACCE was determined by hazard modelling after adjustment for EuroSCORE, smoking, body mass index, hypertension, heart failure and peripheral vascular disease.
RESULTS: In the total sample, there were 698 cumulative person years of survival for analysis with a median follow-up of 4.6 years (interquartile range 4.2 to 5.2 years) and 37 MACCE (23.4 % of total). After covariate adjustment, generalized anxiety disorder was associated with MACCE (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.79, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.00-7.80, p = 0.049). The distress disorders were not significantly associated with MACCE risk (HR = 2.14; 95 % CI .92-4.95, p = 0.077) and neither were the fear-disorders (HR = 0.24, 95 % CI .05-1.20, p = 0.083). None of the symptom dimensions were significantly associated with MACCE.
CONCLUSIONS: Generalized anxiety disorder was significantly associated with MACCE at follow-up after CABG surgery. The findings encourage further research pertaining to generalized anxiety disorder, and theoretical conceptualizations of depression, general distress and anxiety in persons undergoing CABG surgery.