(HealthDay News) – Physical inactivity is associated with increased risk of depression both before and after cardiac surgery, according to research published in the December issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

David Horne, MD, DCh, of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and colleagues asked 436 patients undergoing non-emergent cardiac surgery to complete questionnaires assessing physical activity and depression preoperatively (Q1), at hospital discharge (Q2), at three months (Q3), and at six months (Q4).

The researchers found depression among cardiac surgery patients in 23% at Q1, 37% at Q2, 21% at Q3, and 23% at Q4. Factors independently and significantly associated with depression included preoperative left ventricular ejection fraction <50% (Q1), physical inactivity (Q1), baseline “at risk” group (Q2), baseline “depressed” group (Q2-Q4), hospital stay >7 days (Q2), postoperative stressful event (Q3 and Q4), and cardiopulmonary bypass time >120 minutes (Q4). At six months following cardiac surgery, newly depressed patients reported significantly less physical activity (median, −40 min/week) than depression-free patients.

“Up to 40% of patients are depressed after cardiac surgery,” the authors write. “Physical inactivity was associated with preoperative depression and new depression six months postoperatively.”

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