Background Post-stroke depression is a frequent chronic and recurrent problem that starts shortly after stroke and affects patients in the long term. The health outcomes of depression after stroke are unclear.
Aims (1) To investigate the associations between depression at 3 months and mortality, stroke recurrence, disability, cognitive impairment, anxiety and quality of life (QoL), up to 5 years post-stroke. (2) To investigate these associations in patients recovering from depression by year 1. (3) To investigate associations between depression at 5 years and these outcomes up to 10 years.
Methods Data from the South London Stroke Register (1997–2010) were used. Patients (n at registration=3240) were assessed at stroke onset, 3 months after stroke and annually thereafter. Baseline data included sociodemographics and stroke severity measures. Follow-up assessments included anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale), disability, QoL and stroke recurrence. Multivariable regression models adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, stroke severity and disability were used to investigate the association between depression and outcomes at follow-up.
Results Depression at 3 months was associated with: increased mortality (HR: 1.27 (1.04 to 1.55)), disability (RRs up to 4.71 (2.96 to 7.48)), anxiety (ORs up to 3.49 (1.71 to 7.12)) and lower QoL (coefficients up to −8.16 (−10.23−6.15)) up to year 5. Recovery from depression by 1 year did not alter these risks to 5 years. Depression in year 5 was associated with anxiety (ORs up to 4.06 (1.92 to 8.58)) and QoL (coefficients up to −11.36 (−14.86 to −7.85)) up to year 10.
Conclusions Depression is independently associated with poor health outcomes.