New study: Untreated preoperative depression is not associated with postoperative arrhythmias in CABG patients

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Can J Anaesth. 2014 Jan;61(1):12-18.

Untreated preoperative depression is not associated with postoperative arrhythmias in CABG patients.

Katznelson R, Scott Beattie W, Djaiani GN, Machina M, Lavi R, Rao V, Lavi S. 



The mechanism by which depression affects postoperative outcome may involve arrhythmias. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether untreated depression is associated with an increased incidence of postoperative arrhythmias in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG).


One hundred seven patients were assessed for signs of depression with the Prime-MD Patient Health Questionnaire (brief PHQ) one week before surgery and subsequently underwent Holter monitoring for 48-72 hr postoperatively. The incidences of atrial fibrillation (AF); supraventricular tachycardia (SVT); ventricular tachycardia (VT), defined as three or more consecutive beats at a cycle length less than 600 msec; ventricular fibrillation (VF); and average heart rate (HR) were recorded in patients with and without signs of depression.


The incidence of preoperative untreated depression was 27% (29/107). Twenty patients had mild depression (brief PHQ score of 5-9), seven patients had moderate depression (a score of 10-14), and two patients had severe depression (a score of 20). The incidences of postoperative AF, SVT, and non-sustained VT in depressed and non-depressed patients were 37.9% vs 35.9%, respectively (P = 0.50), 34.4% vs 52.5%, respectively (P = 0.07), and 17.2% vs 37.1%, respectively (P = 0.04). The average (SD) postoperative HR was similar in both groups [95 (12) beats·min-1 in depressed patients and 92 (10) beats·min-1 in non-depressed patients, (P = 0.25)]. Multivariate regression analysis showed that older age, but not depression, was a risk factor for postoperative arrhythmia.


Preoperative untreated depression is not related to postoperative arrhythmia in the early postoperative period in patients undergoing elective CABG. This trial was registered at (number: NCT00622024).

See the full article on PubMed