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For PhD Students

Rolands Ivanovs will defend his Doctoral Thesis ‘Association of Depression and Anxiety with Cardiovascular Co-morbidity and 10-year Risk of Cardiovascular Mortality (SCORE) in a Primary Care Population of Latvia’ on 4 February at 15.00 at a public session of the Doctoral Council of Medicine.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) data cardiovascular disease and depression are two principal groups of non-communicable diseases that together place the heaviest burden on public health leading to incapacity for work and mortality. Latvia ranks among the countries with the highest cardiovascular mortality rate in the European Union. In recent years, depression and anxiety have been recognised as independent risk factors that contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, worsen its prognosis and increase mortality. In the most extensive epidemiological studies of cardiovascular risk factors conducted in Latvia to date, depression and anxiety have not been mentioned as risk factors.

The objective of the thesis was to determine the association of depression and anxiety with cardiovascular co-morbidity and the risk of cardiovascular mortality in the population of Latvia within the next 10 years. A total of 1,604 patients at 24 primary care facilities across Latvia were surveyed and examined.

The research showed that symptoms of depression at the time of the study as well as depression during ones lifetime increased the risk of cardiovascular disease 1.5 to 2 times. Furthermore, symptoms of depression were also associated with a very high risk of cardiovascular mortality. Anxiety was found not to have a negative effect on developing cardiovascular disease and it was even found to have a potential protective effect on the prognosis of cardiovascular mortality.

The results of the research point to the need to screen for depression in patients with cardiovascular disease and an increased risk for cardiovascular mortality.

You can find Rolands Ivanovs' dissertation here.

The doctoral thesis has been carried out with the financial support of sub-project Nr. 5.8.1. of the 'Major health problems caused by mental illness and cognitive dysfunction and reduction of the burden' project of the National Research Programme Biomedicine for Public Health (BIOMEDICINE) 2014-2017.