The results do not necessarily apply to men because only women were in the study, Whang said. "It's hard to make more generalized conclusions," he said.
But for doctors seeing women with depression, there is a clear message, Whang said.
"The biggest clinical implication is that management of coronary heart disease risk factors may be especially important for those with depressive symptoms," he said. "Taking care of those risk factors can modify the risk for coronary disease."
Dr. Sanjiv M. Narayan, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and co-author of an accompanying editorial, said in a statement that the "data indicate the link between depression and serious heart rhythm problems may be more complex than previously thought."
His editorial called the relationship between antidepressant use and sudden cardiac death "surprising" and added it "merits scrutiny."
But it is possible that "antidepressant use merely indicates that depression is of sufficient severity to merit treatment," the editorial said. One recent study of people with heart failure found that depression was associated with increased mortality but that use of antidepressants was not.
Another report in the same issue of the journal said that feelings of anger and hostility are significantly associated with a higher risk of heart disease in healthy people and a poorer outcome in people with heart disease.
Anger and hostility predicted a 19 percent increased risk of such coronary heart disease events as heart attacks among healthy people, and a 24 percent increased risk among those with existing heart disease, said the report by researchers at University College, London.
The British study, which reviewed 42 studies, found the same relationship seen in the study of depression and heart disease: an increase in behavioral risk factors for co
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