Antidepressants may hasten bypass recovery, study finds

May 1, 2013
Antidepressants may hasten bypass recovery, study finds
Mental health, pain improve sooner, researchers say.

(HealthDay)—Depression is relatively common in patients who undergo heart bypass surgery, and a new study finds that short-term use of antidepressants may aid patients' recovery.

"Depression among patients requiring or having undergone [bypass] is high and can significantly impact postoperative recovery," said one expert not connected to the study, Dr. Bryan Bruno, acting chairman of the department of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

In this study, a team of French researchers looked at 182 patients who started taking a (SSRI) antidepressant two to three weeks before undergoing and continued taking it for six months after the procedure.

SSRIs include widely used antidepressants such as Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. In this study, patients took one 10 milligram tablet of Lexapro (escitalopram) daily. The study was funded by Lexapro's maker, H Lundbeck A/S.

The outcomes of patients prescribed Lexapro were compared to 179 patients who took an inactive placebo instead of the antidepressant.

During the six months after the surgery, the patients who took the antidepressant reported less depression and better quality of life than those who took the placebo, the researchers reported.

In addition, taking antidepressants did not increase the risk of complications or death in the year after surgery, according to the study, which appears in the May issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

The study suggests that taking the antidepressant "enables patients who were at least slightly depressed before surgery for to feel better more quickly after surgery, without influencing the ," study leader Dr. Sidney Chocron said in a journal news release.

"Even slight depression before coronary surgery can delay a patient's mental recovery and increase the feeling of pain after surgery," added Chocron, a professor of cardiac surgery at University Hospital Jean Minjoz in Besancon.

Prescribing antidepressants for patients before they have helps them "get on with their lives more quickly after such a serious surgical procedure," Chocron said in the news release.

Bruno agreed that treating even mild depression is important.

"I agree with the authors' concluding suggestion that, unless contraindicated, there should be a relatively low threshold . . . for initiating antidepressant therapy" in these types of heart patients, he said.

But another expert said the study reveals little about the strategy for patients with more severe depression.

"The mild benefit associated with the use of antidepressants in this study is consistent with a population which was not significantly depressed," noted Dr. Dan Iosifescu, director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program and associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

He said "the patients in this study had depressive symptoms in a range which usually does not qualify for a diagnosis of depression." Therefore, "on balance this study provides helpful information on the safety of antidepressants in post-[bypass] patients," Iosifescu said, "but does not contribute to our understanding of their usefulness since the study population appears to have very low rates of depression."

Explore further: Antidepressant use linked with less patient satisfaction after hip replacement

More information: The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

Related Stories

Antidepressant use linked with less patient satisfaction after hip replacement

February 8, 2012
Patients taking antidepressants up to three years prior to undergoing a total hip replacement (THR) were more likely to report greater pain before and after surgery and less satisfaction with their procedure, according to ...

Open heart surgery for kidney disease patients

May 17, 2012
One type of open heart surgery is likely safer than the other for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Antidepressants may lead to fewer seizures in people with epilepsy

December 3, 2012
(HealthDay)—Besides helping to boost mood, antidepressants may also reduce seizure frequency for people with epilepsy, a new study suggests.

Ibuprofen, aspirin, other anti-inflammatory drugs reduce effectiveness of SSRI antidepressants

April 25, 2011
Scientists at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at The Rockefeller University, led by Paul Greengard, Ph.D., and Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, Ph.D., have shown that anti-inflammatory drugs, which include ibuprofen, ...

Stroke risk higher after bypass than angioplasty: analysis

August 21, 2012
(HealthDay News) -- The potential for a stroke is far more common after a bypass than after angioplasty, new research reports, even though the risk after either heart procedure is still relatively low.

Blood test might predict how well a depressed patient responds to antidepressants

December 15, 2011
Loyola University Medical Center researchers are reporting what could become the first reliable method to predict whether an antidepressant will work on a depressed patient.

Recommended for you

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

July 19, 2017
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

July 18, 2017
A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

New tools help surgeons find liver tumors, not nick blood vessels

July 17, 2017
The liver is a particularly squishy, slippery organ, prone to shifting both deadly tumors and life-preserving blood vessels by inches between the time they're discovered on a CT scan and when the patient is lying on an operating ...

Researchers discover indicator of lung transplant rejection

July 13, 2017
Research by scientists at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center's Norton Thoracic Institute was published in the July 12, 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine titled "Zbtb7a induction in alveolar ...

New device could make closing surgical incisions a cinch

July 7, 2017
Like many surgeons, Dr. Jason Spector is often faced with the challenge of securely closing the abdominal wall without injuring the intestines. If the process goes awry, there can be serious consequences for patients, including ...

Success with first 20 patients undergoing minimally invasive pancreatic transplant surgery

June 29, 2017
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that their first series of a minimally invasive procedure to treat chronic pancreas disease, known as severe pancreatitis, resulted in shorter hospital stays, less need for opioids ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.