Levels of depressive symptoms in cardiac patients attending cardiac rehabilitation with a history of depression: pre Covid-19 and Covid-19 period comparison

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BACKGROUND: The large-scale changes in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programme delivery in response to COVID-19 has led to diminished provision. The influence of these service changes on the depression symptoms of patients in CR programmes is unknown. Our study investigated the extent of depressive symptoms prior to and during the COVID-19 periods in patients with a previous history of depression at the start of CR.

METHODS: Use of Registry routine practice data, National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation (NACR), from COVID-19 period Feb 2020 and Jan 2021, as well as pre COVID-19 period Feb 2019 and Jan 2020, was extracted. Depressive symptoms were defined according to Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score ≥ 8. Chi-square tests and independent samples t-tests were used to investigate baseline characteristics. Additionally, a binary logistic regression to examine the factors associated with high levels of depressive symptoms.

RESULTS: In total 3661 patients with a history of depression were included in the analysis. Patients attending CR during COVID-19 were found to be 11% more likely to have high levels of acute depressive symptoms compared to patients attending CR prior to COVID-19. Physical inactivity, increased anxiety, a higher total number of comorbidities, increased weight, and living in the most deprived areas were statistically significant factors associated with high levels of acute depressive symptoms at the start of CR following multivariate adjustments.

CONCLUSION: Our research suggests that following a cardiac event patients with prior history of depression have high levels of acute depressive symptoms at CR baseline assessment. This finding exists in both the pre Covid-19 and Covid-19 periods in patients with a history of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number427
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).


  • Anxiety/diagnosis
  • COVID-19/diagnosis
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression/diagnosis
  • Humans

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