East African Medical Journal

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Coronary artery disease and symptoms of depression in a Kenyan population

FG Njenga, CG Kamotho, MD Joshi, DK Gikonyo, M Wanyoike


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
AJOL African Journals Online