Indexed on: 14 Jul '10Published on: 14 Jul '10Published in: Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Current evidence regarding the association between psychopathology and subclinical atherosclerosis show inconsistent results. The present study examined whether subclinical atherosclerosis was more prevalent in a large cohort of persons with depressive or anxiety disorders as compared to non-depressed and non-anxious controls.Baseline data from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety were used, including 2717 persons, free of clinical cardiovascular disease. Participants had a DSM-IV-based current or remitted depressive (major depressive disorder, dysthymia) or anxiety (social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia) disorder (n=2115) or were healthy controls (n=602). Additional clinical characteristics (severity, duration, age of onset and medication) were assessed. Ankle-brachial index (ABI) was used as a measure of vascular risk and was categorized as low (<or=0.90) and mildly low ABI (0.90-1.11) indicating subclinical atherosclerosis, and high ABI (>1.40), which was previously designated as a cardiovascular risk factor, reflecting arterial stiffness and wall calcification.As compared to normal controls, persons with current (i.e., past year) depressive, anxiety or comorbid depressive and anxiety disorders showed a two- to threefold increased odds of low ABI (OR=2.78, 95% CI=1.05-7.35; OR=3.14, 95% CI=1.25-7.85; OR=2.67, 95% CI=1.09-6.51, respectively). No associations were found with mildly low or high ABI. Also, we did not further find a differential role for symptoms severity, duration, age of onset, and use of psychotropic medication in the link between psychopathology and subclinical atherosclerosis.Persons with current depressive or anxiety disorders were more likely to have subclinical atherosclerosis compared to healthy controls.