Doctors have long known that depression is common after a heart attack or stroke, and hampers recovery.
But now, Columbia University researchers report new evidence that depression itself can lead to heart disease in seemingly healthy women. The scientists tracked 63,000 women from the long-running Nurses' Health Study between 1992 and 2004. None had signs of heart disease when the study began, but nearly 8 percent had evidence of serious depression.
The study found that depressed women were more than twice as likely to experience sudden cardiac death -- death typically caused by an irregular heartbeat.
The study also found that sudden cardiac death seemed more closely linked with antidepressant use than with the depression symptoms the women reported.
The study appears in the Journal of the American College of