Coronary artery disease and symptoms of depression in a Kenyan population

  • FG Njenga P.O. Box 73749, Nairobi, 00200, Kenya
  • CG Kamotho DTM&H, P.O. Box 55650, Nairobi, 00200, Kenya
  • MD Joshi Aga Khan Hospital, P.O. Box 30270, Nairobi, Kenya
  • DK Gikonyo Nairobi Hospital, P.O. Box 30026, Nairobi, Kenya
  • M Wanyoike Nairobi Hospital, P.O. Box 30026, Nairobi, Kenya


Background: Depression and heart disease are replacing the traditional enemies of Africa such
as infectious diseases and malnutrition as the increasing causes of disability and premature
death. Little is known about the co-morbidity of heart disease and depression in Africa.
Objective: To describe the prevalence of depression in Black Africans with and without
Coronary Artery Disease as documented on coronary angiography at the Nairobi Hospital.
Design: Prospective comparative study.
Setting: A private not for Profit 210 bed hospital, catering for fee paying middles class clintele.
Results: Of the eighteen patients with an abnormal angiogram, the highest score on
the BDI was 9 while the average was 2.11. Of the seven with normal angiograms, the
highest BDI was 5, and the average was 1.71. There was no statistical significance in
these differences.
Conclusion: While African scientists must continue to concentrate on the urgent medical
priorities of today (AIDS, malaria, measles, etc), cognisance has to be made of the other
emerging epidemic, of the co-morbidity of coronary artery disease and depression. That
no significant difference in depression score between the two groups was found could
be due to a number of reasons including the small sample size achieved in this first
study of its kind in Kenya.
East African Medical Journal Vol.81(12) 2004: 611-615

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