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Arterial endothelial function is impaired in treated depression
  1. A J M Broadley1,
  2. A Korszun2,
  3. C J H Jones1,
  4. M P Frenneaux1
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Andrew Broadley, University of Wales College of Medicine, Wales Heart Research Institute, Department of Cardiology, Heath Park, Cardiff CF4 4XN, UK;


Objectives: To determine whether patients with treated depression but no other risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) have abnormal arterial endothelial function, an abnormality that is common to other acquired risk factors for CHD.

Design: Case–control study.

Setting: Secondary care departments of cardiology and psychiatry in a single centre and the surrounding community.

Participants: Patients with treated depression and matched healthy controls, aged 18–55 years, without conventional acquired risk factors for CHD. These were recruited from local community mental health clinics, general practices, and patient support groups, and through posters placed in public areas of the hospital. Patients had major depression as defined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Fifteen patients and 12 controls were recruited, and 12 patients and 10 controls completed the study.

Outcomes: Brachial artery flow mediated dilatation and baroreflex sensitivity.

Results: Arterial endothelial function measured by flow mediated dilatation was impaired in depression (mean (SEM) −0.7% (1.7%)) compared with controls (5.7% (0.9%), p = 0.005 by non-paired t test). Baroreflex sensitivity did not differ significantly between the groups.

Conclusion: Arterial endothelial function is impaired in treated depression. This abnormality may contribute to the increased risk of CHD seen in depression.

  • endothelial function
  • depression
  • coronary heart disease
  • baroreceptor sensitivity
  • BRS, baroreflex sensitivity
  • CHD, coronary heart disease
  • FMD, flow mediated dilatation

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