Depression and health behaviors in women with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy



      Depression and health behavior engagement are a critical issue for recovery and secondary prevention in heart failure patients. No prior studies have examined these important clinical outcomes in young women diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM). We sought to characterize the prevalence of depression and health behaviors in PPCM patients and examine whether depression is associated with reduced engagement in health behaviors.


      A nation-wide, cohort of 177 PPCM patients (mean age of 34.8 ± 5.7 years; median time since diagnosis of 3.0 ± 4.3 years) from a web-based quality of life registry completed questionnaires about depression (Patient Health Questionnaire; a cutoff score ≥10 was used for depression screening) and health behaviors. T-tests, chi-square and linear regression were used to compare clinical characteristics and health behaviors among depressed and non-depressed women.


      The prevalence of clinical depression at enrollment was 32.3% and was associated with use of antihypertensive medications, disability insurance status, higher BMI, history of arrhythmia and current or past use of psychotropic medication. Health behavior engagement for diet, physical activity, and tobacco cessation were low in the overall sample and depressed PPCM patients were significantly less likely to attend medical appointments than non-depressed women.


      Nearly 1 in 3 PPCM survivors reported symptoms of clinical depression which was associated with worse attendance at medical follow-up visits. Further research is needed to develop risk stratification models and patient-centered interventions to improve clinical outcomes for PPCM survivors.


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