Assessing depression in patients hospitalized with coronary heart disease is clinically challenging because depressive symptoms are often confounded by poor somatic health.
To identify symptom clusters associated with clinical depression in patients hospitalized with coronary heart disease.
Secondary analyses of 3 similar data sets for hospitalized patients with coronary heart disease who had diagnostic screening for depression (99 depressed, 224 not depressed) were done. Depressive symptoms were assessed by using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale or the Beck Depression Inventory. Hierarchical cluster analysis was performed on 11 symptom variables: anhedonia, dysphoria, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, fatigue, guilt, suicidal symptoms, hypochondriasis, loss of libido, psychomotor impairment, and nervous irritability. Associations between symptom clusters and presence or absence of clinical depression were estimated by using logistic regression.
Fatigue (69%) and sleep disturbance (55%) were the most prevalent symptoms. Guilt (25%) and suicidal symptoms (9%) were the least common. Three symptom clusters (cognitive/affective, somatic/affective, and somatic) were identified. Compared with patients without cognitive/affective symptoms, patients with the cognitive/affective symptom cluster (anhedonia, dysphoria, guilt, suicidal symptoms, nervous irritability) had an odds ratio of 1.41 (P<.001; 95% CI, 1.223–1.631) for clinical depression.
Clinicians should be alert for clinical depression in hospitalized patients with coronary heart disease who have the cognitive/affective symptom cluster.